Health

Man born with rare spine condition uses hands, skateboard to get around

Rowdy Burton said he amputated his legs because they would be "dead weight" that he'd have to carry around.

An Alabama man hasn’t let the fact that he has no legs get in the way of much, including his love for skateboarding and the sport of tennis. Rowdy Burton, who had his legs amputated as a 3-year-old said there’s even times when his friends forget that he doesn’t have legs.

“There hasn’t been anything that I just really, really wanted to do that I felt like I couldn’t do,” Burton, 30, told Barcroft TV. “Except one other thing – I did kind of want to be an astronaut, still do, still want to go into space before I die but they’re pretty strict about that peak physical condition.”

Burton was born with sacral agenesis syndrome, a congenital spine condition which affected the way his legs were growing. He said he had his legs amputated because allowing them to grow would mean he had “dead weight to carry around.”

“Since they didn’t bend right either it would’ve been difficult to use a wheelchair or crutches,” he told Barcroft TV.

*** EXCLUSIVE - VIDEO AVAILABLE ***

UNSPECIFIED, UNDATED: A young Rowdy Burton sits in a chair outside, before he had his legs amputated due to suffering with Sacral Agenesis.

DESPITE living with just half a body ? inspirational Rowdy Burton is determined to not let his condition define him. 30-year-old, Rowdy, was born with a rare lower spinal disorder called Sacral Agenesis. Affecting only one in 25,000 births, the condition resulted in Rowdy having both of his legs amputated when he was just three years old ? with doctors using pins to stop his bones growing any further. Rowdy, who resides in Alabama, USA, was left to live his life with two stumps positioned directly beneath his waist and now that he is older, he prefers to use his hands and elbows to get around rather than a wheelchair. After all the hardship Rowdy has faced over the years, he is still determined to live his life to the full ? playing tennis with his friends and riding his skateboard.

PHOTOGRAPH BY Barcroft Images

Burton used a wheelchair as a student when he had to carry around books, but has since grown to rely on his hands to get around.  (Barcroft Media)

Burton said he was bullied earlier in life, but when he reached high school his classmates matured and it stopped. He also grew out of using his wheelchair for everything, and often walks around using his hands.

“Sometimes I use a skateboard,” he said. “You get a lot more momentum. I like it because you can go fast. I can’t really run very fast so it’s pretty cool to pick up speed.”

*** EXCLUSIVE - VIDEO AVAILABLE ***

MONTGOMERY, AL - JANUARY 17: Rowdy Burton, 30, who has just half a body, gets ready to rally with his friend during a game of tennis on January 17, 2018 in Montgomery, Alabama.

DESPITE living with just half a body – inspirational Rowdy Burton is determined to not let his condition define him. 30-year-old, Rowdy, was born with a rare lower spinal disorder called Sacral Agenesis. Affecting only one in 25,000 births, the condition resulted in Rowdy having both of his legs amputated when he was just three years old – with doctors using pins to stop his bones growing any further. Rowdy, who resides in Alabama, USA, was left to live his life with two stumps positioned directly beneath his waist and now that he is older, he prefers to use his hands and elbows to get around rather than a wheelchair. After all the hardship Rowdy has faced over the years, he is still determined to live his life to the full – playing tennis with his friends and riding his skateboard. 

PHOTOGRAPH BY Bob Miller / Barcroft Images

Burton said he’s always tried to see the bright side of every situation.  (Barcroft Media)

Burton also drives and plays wheelchair tennis with a group.

“People are drawn to him,” Christy Rue, who met Rowdy through wheelchair tennis, told the news outlet. “I remember before I met him our mutual friend told me he’s one of those people that just everybody loves immediately and, he is.”

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