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Snellville company helps wheelchair athletes win

6:33 AM, Jul 4, 2012   |    comments
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Barry Ewing is the founder of Eagle Sports Chairs in Snellville. It's a small operation that accounts for as much as 40 percent of the adaptive sports equipment market.

SNELLVILLE, Ga. -- Barry Ewing is a perfectionist because he has so much riding on his work.

"Hopefully, I've changed a lot of people's lives," said Ewing, the owner of Eagles Sportschairs in Snellville. 

He runs a small operation that accounts for as much as 40 percent of the adaptive sports equipment market.

"There are a lot of people with certain disabilities that with minor equipment can do anything," he said. 

Ewing started the business in 1979 after his brother-in-law became a paraplegic in a car accident.

He now sells to all the top competitors, including Santiago Sanz from Spain, who's had seven first-place finishes in the Peachtree Road Race quadriplegic division.

"Oh, I love the Peachtree," Ewing said. "We always have lots of athletes there. I've had winners in every division."

The winner of last year's women's wheelchair division, Tatyana McFadden, also uses Eagle chairs. She just qualified for the U.S. Paralympic team.

But it's the kids who give Ewing his greatest satisfaction. 

On Tuesday morning, he was busy making a chair for a little boy from Tennessee.

"They get into this, and it's amazing to them," Ewing said. "You name it, they do it now. It's all a matter of the equipment they need."

At Eagle, every chair is custom-made, and Ewing's heart goes into every one.

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