Updated 08/07/2012 09:35 PM
Double amputee inspires others while training for wakeboarding championships
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CORNELIUS, N.C. – A young athlete is making waves in the Charlotte area. The 14-year-old double amputee is going against all odds and taking to the water to train for competition.
Eli Hager was born without bones in his lower legs and at 9 months old, they were amputated. His parents say within a couple of years, they began to see a pattern with their son and they made a decision.
"He became too dependent upon the wheelchair so we said 'No, not our child. He will walk. He will function on two legs,'" Eli's mother, Bonny, said.
But Eli did much more than walk on his prosthetic legs. He became a part of Carolinas Rehabilitation's Adaptive Sports and Adventures Program. At only 4 years old, he was pushing boundaries.
He is now a competitive wakeboarder, planning to complete in the Disabled Waterski National Championship later this month.
"There's nothing that Eli can't do. Eli, if he wants to do it and he sets his mind to do it, he's going to accomplish it," said coordinator Jennifer Moore.
"My mom and dad never let me use my legs as an excuse,” Hager said.
A fundraiser to help send Eli to California to compete will be held on Aug. 11 at the White Oak Golf Course in Alexis, N.C.