Spinal cord injury isn’t stopping one skater
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. – A car crash last summer left 19-year-old Blake Simpson with a spinal injury and forced to use a wheelchair to get around.
After his accident, the doctor delivered what Simpson said at first was grim news.
“The doctor asked me what I like to do. I basically told him, I like to skateboard, dirt bike and snowboard,” said Simpson.
That’s when Simpson said the doctor told him he wouldn’t be able to do any of those activities and would never walk again.
In a funk, Simpson started doing research online. He discovered WCMX which is an emerging sport that uses a specialized wheelchair like a skateboard.
“I thought my life was going to be boring,” said Simpson.
Little did he know that life was going to be anything but boring. Christiann Baily, a professional surfer who also suffered a spinal cord injury heard Simpson’s story and reached out to him. Soon after, a fundraiser was started for Simpson to buy him a specialized Box custom wheelchair.
“It’s made for the skate park to take the abuse,” said Simpson.
Once he got his wheelchair, Beach Park has become his own playground.
“I remember dropping in and stuff and getting the same thrill from skateboarding and I wanted to cry because I was so happy,” said Simpson. “I get to live the same way as before and this isn’t going to change my life negatively.”
Since returning to the skate park with his new wheels, Simpson has met a few new friends along the way like four-year-old Carson Orr. Carson was born with Spina Bifida and has been in a wheelchair since he was seven months old.
“We don’t want the wheelchair to define who Carson is, we just want him to have fun in it just like a lot of other people would,” said Bobby Orr, Carson’s father.
Carson’s family heard Simpson’s story and reached out to him online. Not long after, a new friendship was born.
“It’s exciting that these guys are getting out and making the most of the life they have,” said Bobby Orr, Carson’s father.
Blake says he hopes his story will inspire others in wheelchairs to embark on their own adventure and join him at the skate park.
By: Erin Briscoe