Dallas resident David Carter is a member of the U.S. Worlds Team, which will be participating in the World Disabled Water Skiing Championship.
Carter became a paraplegic three years ago after a motorcycle accident, but he does not feel sorry for himself.
“I’m still me. Regardless of standing or sitting,” he said. “I’m blessed to still be alive.”
He credits the disability for giving him such opportunities as competing for the U.S. in the event, finding his passion for water skiing, getting to visit another country for the first time and more.
Carter learned to water ski at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta, where he went to receive rehabilitation after the wreck, he said. Carter went to Aquatics Coordinator Lisa Ruger for rehab, and she pushed him to try skiing.
“We host water ski clinics each year,” Ruger said. “He was a natural on the water.”
Ruger said she believes Carter will do well at the championship.
Carter said he was able to get his slalom ski through the Challenged Athletes Foundation, which buys equipment for disabled athletes.
He has been skiing for about a year and a half since his accident, and has already competed in three tournaments — one last year and two this year. He placed third in a North Carolina competition.
This week he is in Milan, Italy, practicing for the championship, and next week he will be competing against 70 others from 14 different countries.
“[The competition] is more fun and interacting with people that have done it a lot longer than I have. Each individual person skis a little different,” he said. “I’m still in the early learning process of it.”
Carter is scheduled to compete in the trick and slalom events. In the trick category he tries to perform different tricks with each being scored differently. The highest he has scored is 650; the U.S. record is 960 in his classification, full upper body movement, but limited core.
The 27-year-old is a Paulding County High School graduate.
“I go to Shepherd Center a few days a week to do peer support and speak with patients about personal experiences.
“I try to help show them how I do things to make the learning process a little easier for them to figure it out. I’m hoping that I can get back in school to help me find a new job,” Carter said.