South View track athlete Isaiah Fultz made history and won a state championship earlier this year in a rented wheelchair with a flat tire. Now the school is trying to get him a chair he can call his own.
Fultz, who was left paralyzed after a childhood car accident, became the first Cumberland County athlete to compete and win an event in the wheelchair division of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 4-A track meet this spring. He won in the 100-meter wheelchair division with a time of 21.91 seconds.
So far, Fultz has been competing in a rented wheelchair that costs $150 a month. In addition to the cost of renting the chair, he had to spend additional money for repairs during the recent track season.
The week of this year’s state championship meet proved to be a nightmare for Fultz, South View athletic director Chad Barbour and South View track coach Jesse Autry. The Monday of the state track meet, Fultz had a tire to blow out on his wheelchair. Barbour took it to a local vendor, who promised to have it repaired in time for the meet. The day of the meet, the vendor had not received the new tire for the chair, and it wasn’t ready. Barbour and Autry picked it up and did the best they could to patch the tire so Fultz could race.
“He actually could have raced a lot faster,’’ Barbour said after Fultz won in his broken chair.
So this summer, Barbour began pricing racing wheelchairs and found one that sold for $3,055. Barbour started a fundraiser for the chair, but so far has only raised $150.
Barbour said the investment in the chair on Fultz’s behalf would be worth it to potential donors. “He’s the type of kid, if you get him what he needs, he’s going to be out there putting in the work,’’ Barbour said. “He’s as determined a young athlete as I’ve ever seen. He’s just a great kid who inspires me to do my job better.’’
Donations of any amount are welcome and can be dropped off at South View High School during normal summer business hours or mailed to Barbour at the school mailing address: 4184 Elk Rd., Hope Mills, NC 28348.
Barbour said checks should be made out to South View High School/Chad Barbour.
Photo: Isaiah Fultz currently relies on a rented chair for racing