Wheelchair Motocross trend spreads to North Texas

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by SEBASTIAN ROBERTSON

Bio | Email | Follow: @wfaasebastian

WFAA

Posted on April 19, 2014 at 9:00 PM

Updated Saturday, Apr 19 at 9:00 PM

IRVING -- When 11-year-old Luke Acuna jumps his wheelchair off a skateboard ramp it understandably makes his dad nervous.

Acuna is among dozens of athletes competing for the first time at the Irving Convention Center. All of them are part of an extreme sports competition presented by non-profit RISE Adaptive Sports.

While the two-day competition features traditional extreme sports such as skateboarding and BMX, it also includes Wheelchair Motocross (WCMX).

“Here they’re the stars, everybody wants to be in the chair and be doing what they are doing,” said Executive Director of RISE, Chris Goad.

As for Acuna, his recovery is nothing short of remarkable. The 11-year-old has only used a speciality built wheel chair for about six months.

Two years ago, Acuna was nearly killed after being hit by a garbage truck in his hometown of San Diego. His leg was amputated.

Friday's event is a chance for Acuna to be around other athletes who truly understand his struggle. Athletes like professional surfer and skateboarder Christiaan Bailey.

“He reminds me a lot of myself at that age, just frothing the push limits and try anything, I absolutely love that. It’s kids like that, that make what we do, all the time and energy absolutely worth it,” said Bailey.

Bailey's career ended after a spinal cord injury while filming a skateboarding video in 2006. Shortly after, he found WCMX -- a sport he is passing on to children around the world. 



“You would be amazed to see the transition in their attitude -- it’s almost instantaneous,” said Bailey.

It's a sport that both kids and parents will admit can be dangerous.

“With the skateboard, when you fall, you don’t have to worry about the skateboard hitting you. But if you fall on wheel chair, you kind of have to block because if that thing hits you it’s going to hurt bad,” explained Acuna.

But that’s the point -- proving that even though he's in a wheelchair, he is far from delicate.

E-mail srobertson@wfaa.com

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