Local Disabled Water Skiers Heading To World Championships
LAKE NORMAN, NC- "Can't" isn't in their vocabulary.
A local water ski trio with disabilities is representing Charlotte on the U.S. Disabled Water Ski Team.
That's 14 year-old Hager's motto. His legs were amputated at nine months old because he didn't have a tibia in either leg. After getting the hang of his prosthetics, he started skiing.
"I like to challenge myself and I like to go out there and I don't want to have special treatment. I want to be normal," said Hager.
Hager joined the water ski team run by Carolina Rehabilitation's Adaptive Sports & Adventure Program.
His teammate, Megan McCauley was paralyzed from her sternum down during an alcohol-involved four wheeler accident five years ago.
"I was 22 years old and I was on a long road of alcoholism before my accident, so it was definitely a divine intervention when I got hurt...definitely," said McCauley.
Robbie Parks was also drinking and driving when a crash paralyzed him from the neck down. Doctors said he'd never ski again.
"It's an accomplishment that I was never supposed to have," said Parks.
He coached the team to individual wins at Nationals last month, qualifying them for the U.S. Disabled Water Ski Team.
Next July, all three skiers are taking their boards to Milan, Italy to compete in the 2013 Disabled World Water Skiing Championships.
Parks competed on the U.S. Team in 2011 and won gold.
"We're looking to bring the gold medal home for the team and a whole bunch of individual medals," said Parks.
The Adaptive Sports and Adventures Program offers 11 other sports, including rugby and golf.