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Woman With Partial Paralysis Ignores Naysayers, Becomes Aerial Acrobat

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Lauren Watson was told it would be impossible for her to participate in aerial acrobatics because she’s partially paralyzed. She didn’t listen.

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Via Instagram

Watson, from the Gold Coast of Australia, was in a car accident in 2000 that left her partially paralyzed from the waist down, a condition known as incomplete paraplegia.

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Via Instagram

Since then, Watson started and stopped physiotherapy many times, but it never made her happy. Then, she discovered aerial performing.

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Via Instagram

I needed something fun and exciting to challenge me to move my body and that’s how I stumbled on aerial and thought, ‘What is more challenging than a person hanging upside down from material rigged from the ceiling who can only use half of their body?’” Watson wrote on her blog.

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Via Instagram

Watson spent months trying to find a place that would teach her, BuzzFeed reported. Finally she found Industry Aerial Arts. She spent the next six months just trying to drag herself into a standing position on one leg, but she never gave up.

I thought, That has to be impossible,” Watson told BuzzFeed, “but if I can master it I’ll be able to do anything.”

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Via Instagram

When Watson asked her physiotherapist for leg-strengthening exercises to help her perform and was told it wasn’t achievable, she became even more motivated to accomplish it.

Now, two years later, Watson has achieved a lot. She’s performed with Australian specialized aerial training and stunt school Flyworx, was featured in a music video for Sydney band Little Fox and has a large social media following on Facebook and Instagram.

Check out the compilation video below of Watson spinning while doing aerial.


Spinning mashup for Instagram. I remember the first time I had to spin – I hated it. I got sick every time and tried everything; ginger, motion sickness bands and tablets until i discovered a few secrets. Check out my blog post for some tips in the air! (Shots taken at Industry Aerial Arts – Director Tammy Zarb, Vulcana Women’s Circus and AP8) Posted by Lauren Watson – Adaptive Artist on Sunday, August 16, 2015
 To see more of Watson performing, visit her Facebook page or Instagram.

Front page photo credit: Provoke Magazine via Instagram

Originally published: October 15, 2015
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