WHEEL LIFE STORIES PRESENTS
PEOPLE of the WHEEL WORLD
Determined, Persistent, Motivated. Just a few words that come to mind when describing Nathan Rocuskie. The 18 year old Williamsport PA native, proves that nothing is impossible. On May 26, 2017, Nathan’s life changed. While practicing for The National Motocross Race-Loretta Lynns, Nathan was severely injured. The accident left him paralyzed, T-12 Incomplete. This diagnosis has not stopped or defined him. From Motocross to Wheelchair Motocross you can catch Nathan pushing the limits and perfecting his craft.
“Go Big Or Go Home”
Read our interview below⬇
What is WCMX? What inspired you get started?
WCMX stands for wheelchair motocross. Don't really get where the motocross comes in at but its there lol. What inspired me to start was of course Aaron Wheelz Fotheringham. Watching his edits on Instagram and YouTube gets me so pumped to go out and skate. Before my injury I was always at the park on my skateboard. I felt so lost and incomplete from not being at the park as much as I used to be. If it wasn’t for my buddy Jonathan Stark I probably still wouldn’t have been able to get a WCMX chair. Gotta give the homie a huge shout out!!
In detail could you tell us about your injury?
My injury happened May 26, 2017. I would say that day was the worst/best day of my life. Lol. I raced Motocross at a national level since I was 7 years old. I was training for the biggest amateur national of the year which is called Loretta Lynns. I have a nice replica of the national track in my back yard. While training for the race I came up short on a triple jump which sent me roughly 100 ft from the lander. The bike landed on me several times before we came to a stop. After every crash I ever had I always jumped up. Even if my leg was broken or anything just from adrenaline going. This time I tried and nothing happened. I instantly laid back and knew exactly what happened. I could feel the break in my back which felt like I was laying on a rock. As everyone ran to me all I could think was "damn I really hope I get a good doctor." Lol. The first thing I said to them was “Yep I'm paralyzed” and they all didn’t believe me. They didn’t want to hear the worst case scenario but it was the truth. They wanted to call life flight but I was in a calm state for that just happening and waited for the ambulance. I ended up getting an amazing surgeon who helped me so much even after my injury. My injury is T-12 incomplete. I have some feeling from under the injury line so I am considered Asia B. Some of you might be reading this and feeling sad for me but don’t! Being in a wheelchair has completely changed my perspective of life. It makes me respect the little things way more and now I feel as my quality of life is way more healthy than before!
Did having a spinal cord injury ever effect your passion for sports?
My passion for sports made me instantly wanna get back out there and do what I always did before. I always told my parents that if something happened to me on my dirt bike to not feel bad. If I'm riding a bike, I'm loving every second of it and as parents they still worried. Lol. Since my injury I have got back on a dirt bike and into any hobbies that I used to do before. Other than WCMX and Motocross, I really enjoy Trap shooting and just being out with nature. Never let your injury effect how you look at things. There is always a way to get back into it!!
Who is your favorite WCMX rider?
My favorite WCMX rider is Wheelz. The way he is progressing the sport is insane. He is and always has been on a whole different level with the sport. My goal is to be able to shred like him!
What advice would you give to someone that has given up on sports due to their SCI?
Living with a Spinal Cord Injury can be very hard and annoying. Just remember that you know yourself more than anybody else does. Don’t let someones words effect you negatively because they are not in the shoes you wear. Keep your dreams high just like before the injury. You might not be able to do something as good as you would like but practice and hard-work definitely pays off. When I get down, I look at how far I have come. Yeah I wish I could jump right back up but thats not what God wants us to do. He challenges only his strongest soldiers with this. So don’t be afraid of failure because living with SCI is all trial and error. Keep your close friends and family close because they truly care and want to see the best out of you. Nobody wishes this on us but they do wish to see the most progress possible. So never give up on yourself and your dreams. We are all here to help!
Is there a special wheelchair needed for WCMX?
Before getting my WCMX chair I was using my TiLite everyday chair. As long as you are strapped in with full gear on I would say you can WCMX on any chair! As long as you are having fun thats all that matters! A WCMX chair is different from an everyday chair because it is fully designed for extreme sports. They are fully built in with suspension and shocks with a more durable frame. I use mine as an everyday chair as well because it is so comfortable and maneuvers very well.
What keeps you motivated and grounded?
I'm gonna be honest and say not everyday is a good day for me but having the support I do from my amazing girlfriend, friends and family makes me never wanna give up. Life is gonna go on with or without me so I better make the best out of everyday!
What WCMX tricks are you working on? Do you ever worry about falling?
Not really working on any new tricks at the moment but been trying to get myself to a foam pit so I can start learnin' flips! The stoke is real on that! If you ride WCMX you can’t be afraid to fall. Once I realized that is when it became the most fun. Sometimes a nice slam to me is like a nice cup of Jo in the morning! Lol gotta love it!
“I have a lot of hobbies I really enjoy. The ones I enjoy the most are WCMX, riding dirt bike, hiking, shooting and playing guitar.”