Elizabethtown man finds way to keep fishing after paralyzing injury
After an accident left him wheelchair-bound, an Elizabethtown fisherman goes to great lengths to continue with the sport he loves.
ELIZABETHTOWN, Ky. (WDRB) -- Fourteen years ago, a car crash left Chris Lanham of Elizabethtown in a wheelchair, but the avid fisherman was determined to find a way to keep doing what he loves.
Lanham started fishing at three-years-old when his grandpa took him out for the first time. Since then, he says he's fished most bodies of water in Kentucky. "When it's warm like this, at least once a week," said Lanham.
These days, reeling in another fish means more than just a bite on the line, because after his paralyzing accident Lanham wasn't able to fish.
"I'm paralyzed from here down. Don't have any finger movement. Just got a little bit of wrist movement on each side," Lanham described.
Lanham spent two weeks in the ICU and went through months of rehab. "To lose everything that defines who you are so to speak. I didn't know how to adapt with what I had left over."
After the crash, Lanham looked to the water to heal. His grandfather once again got him fishing. "He said we have to get you back on the water," Lanham recalled.
After several years of trial and error, the two came up with a setup that allows Lanham to fish again. They took a standard wrist brace and attached clamps to the backside. The clamps hold the pole in place since Lanham has minimal hand function. He controls an electric reel with a screwdriver attached to a conduit box that is powered by his wheelchair.
"As long as I've got a charge on my chair, I can go fishing," said Lanham.
Now the only obstacle he faces is whether or not the fish are biting. "It really leveled the playing field as far as fishing for me to where I could come out and fish just like one of the other guys," he said.
Lanham's next project is a pontoon boat that's fully accessible.
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