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


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.”

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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.”