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Local Paralyzed Sportsman Finds Freedom In New Wheelchair

NEW CASTLE, Pa. (KDKA) -- With just a few days left in firearm deer season, many local hunters are trying to bag one last buck or two. But one local sportsman has a new outlook on the outdoors.

Chris Niles, who was paralyzed from the sternum down in a tree accident eight years ago, is using a new mobility device called Freedom Trax. It uses special treads, like those on a tank, to navigate terrain that conventional wheelchairs can't.

The wheelchair rolls up onto the Freedom Trax and locks in place. Chris is then able to steer using a remote control.

"When I bought this last year, I didn't realize how exciting it was going to be," Niles told KDKA's Kym Gable as the pair went to Niles' favorite hunting spot in New Castle, Lawrence County.

"I've always been somebody that never gives up and figures out a way to get it done. Life's different now, but it doesn't have to be over."

The Freedom Trax easily traversed mud, rocks, branches, puddles, and grass. Snow and sand aren't a problem either.

Niles' son, Braden, said family vacations to the beach are much more enjoyable now.

"When I was younger, we would go to the beach and I could never go down with him. It was always like, 'I'll send you a picture of me.' And he was have to stay from afar. But now, to be able to go and walk with him and just experience it," said Braden.

Now, Niles is helping other disabled men and women experience the freedom of Freedom Trax.

"It's getting them to the point where they can get back to doing what they love and really living again."

For more information on Freedom Trax, send an email to

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