There’s no doubt about it, extreme sports push the body to its absolute limits. These sports are challenging even for the able-bodied and many would believe that those with tetraplegia could never enjoy – never mind compete – in extreme sports. However, here we share the stories of 4 athletes who refuse to let injury or physical disability get in the way of their dreams and goals. Prepare to be inspired by extreme sport athletes with tetraplegia and paraplegia.
Motocross: Darius Glover
Darius Glover grew up in Maryland racing motorcycles with friends and even got to learn a thing or two from experienced motocross competitors. With his eyes firmly set on a professional career in motocross, Glover’s dreams were seemingly shattered when at the age of 15 he broke his back while practising for a local motocross competition. However, he wasn’t about to let this setback be the end of his dreams. Glover customised a 2012 Honda CR450f with hand-controls for the slipper clutch and brake which he designed himself and makes use of a custom seat to keep him firmly in place. Since then, Glover has competed in several races and works on perfecting his skills daily.
Skiing: Josh Dueck
Growing up in British Columbia, Canada, Josh Dueck was practically born with skiing in his blood. He took to the sport like a duck to water and by the time he was 15 he was skiing for a local freestyle club while his peers were enjoying eSports betting Australia instead. Hitting times that could see him reaching the Olympics, Dueck was unfortunately involved in a skiing accident during a coaching session which resulted in him breaking his back. With a severe injury to his T11 vertebrae, skiing on 2 skis became immediately impossible, but Dueck wasn’t about to let this hold him back. Instead, Dueck took to sit-skiing and even invented a new style of ski which saw him landing the world’s first back slip in a sit-ski.
Surfing: Christiaan Bailey
Christiaan Bailey grew up in Paris and was skating and surfing from a young age. After moving to Santa Cruz at the age of 22, Bailey became a pro in both sports, but tragically broke his back which left him without the use of his legs. Always been willing to push his body to its limits, Bailey was back on his surfboard within a year, but this time adapted his style to surf on his stomach. Becoming the first person with paralysis to win the WSA National Championships in 2009, Bailey is the epitome of not allowing physical limitations to be life-limiting.
Skating: Aaron Fotheringham
Even though Aaron Fotheringham was born with spina bifida, at age 8 he took to dropping down a quarter-pipe at a local Las Vegas skate park in his wheelchair and that was just the beginning. By 14, he became the first person in a wheelchair to land a backflip and then a double backflip at 18. Now, Fotheringham tours with Nitro Circus and landed the world’s first wheelchair front flip in 2011