In October 2022, Garland opened The Boneyard, a 46,000-square-foot skate park, the second largest in Texas. Now, the park is once again gaining attention after famed pro skater Tony Hawk joined a North Texas social media group calling for the park to be made a “John Comer Memorial Park” in honor of the local legend of the adaptive professional skateboarder.
In a video posted to social media, Hawk talks about the legacy of John Comer and his impact on adaptive professional skateboarding. “He was a pioneer in figure skating … and a huge source of inspiration for adaptive athletes, especially in speed skating and action sports,” Hawke said, adding that the memorial will help cement his legacy and also serve as an inspiration for skaters in the coming years.
John Comer, who died in 2019 at age 43, is considered the grandfather of adaptive skateboarding after he became the first professional skateboarder to wear a prosthetic leg. He was in a car accident when he was four years old, which resulted in the amputation of his right lower leg three years later.
Comer, who is not easily discouraged, got into skateboarding when he was 12 years old. This led him to a professional career in the 1990s and an award-winning documentary in 2004 titled Never Done Before: The John Comer Story.
“What he did on vertical ramps on a prosthetic leg when no one else was doing it was as good as any other pro skateboarder of the day,” Daniel Gale, co-founder of Adaptive Action Sports alongside snowboarder Amy Purdy, said X Games upon hearing the news of Comer’s death. Gale added that he considers Comer directly responsible for bringing adaptive sports to the X Games, an annual extreme sports event.
He is also remembered for his solidarity with other adaptive athletes. Evan Strong, snowboard cross gold medalist at the 2014 Sochi Paralympics, recalls Comer cheering him on as he recovered from his own car accident in 2004.
“Before the accident, I was a budding amateur skateboarder in Hawaii, and somehow he found out about my accident,” Strong said. “He actually contacted me when I was still in the hospital, just to see if there was anything he could do to help. I told him, “Dude, I don’t know if I’ll ever skateboard again,” and he said, “Oh, you’ll skate again, that’s guaranteed.” It seemed like such a distant concept at the time, and he brought it to me.”
Since Boneyard Park opened last year, the skateboarding community has been urging the park to memorialize John Comer, perhaps with the help of another professional skater, they’ll make their wish come true.