Person of the Week: Wheelchair Bound Teen Changes Skating World One Back Flip At A Time

Aaron Fotheringham shreds limits by shredding at the skate park.

ByABC News
October 14, 2010, 11:51 AM

October 14, 2010 — -- On a recent, blazing hot afternoon at a suburban Las Vegas skate park, Aaron Fotheringham, 18, was tearing up the concrete.

Launching himself from a 12-foot vertical drop, he raced full speed to the other side of the bowl, planted his hand on the edge, and dropped back down.

"Man, that feels good," Aaron, known to the locals as "Wheelz," said as he skidded to a stop. "I don't think any drug in the world could top that. I love adrenaline."

Aaron doesn't just fit in with the other teenage daredevils skating and biking at this park, he routinely outdoes them by pulling off stunts like hand plants and heart-stopping back flips.

Aaron's talent at the skate park isn't the only thing setting him apart from his skating buddies. He's different in one very crucial way. Aaron is in a wheelchair.

"A lot of people think of the wheelchair as a medical instrument," Aaron told ABC News, as he sat among a pile of busted wheels in the back yard of his family's home. "I think that's wrong. You know, why not think of it as something fun?"

Born with spina bifida, a birth defect of the spinal cord, Aaron has been without the use of his legs since birth.

"We credit a lot of his progression or desire to do what he's doing to the fact that we were told by the doctors that he would be completely incapable," Aaron's mother, Kaylene Fotheringham, 51, told ABC News in the family's suburban Las Vegas home. "They're telling us as an infant, 'Oh, you know, he's not going to be able to sit independently. He'll never walk."

"I've often wished I knew where that doctor was," she added. "To say, 'Look at this kid that you told us would never be anything. And look at what he's done.'"