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2017 Invictus Games Officially Begin

Photo from Invictus London 2014 : https://www.facebook.com/invictuslondon/

In 2014 Prince Harry of Wales set out to make a difference for injured soldiers returning from war, and created the Invictus Games. He started the international sporting event to inspire recovery, help support rehabilitation and to raise awareness and respect for those who serve their country. The Paralympic-style multi-sport event features adaptive games such as wheelchair basketball, sitting volleyball and indoor rowing. The first Invictus Games took place in March of 2014 at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London, England. This year they are being hosted in Toronto, Canada and the opening weekend was a great success!

On Saturday evening spectators filled Toronto’s Air Canada Center to welcome the 550 competitors from 17 nations. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Prince Harry both gave moving speeches at the opening ceremony. In 2008 Prince Harry, who at the time was third in line for the British throne, was deployed to Afghanistan. On his return flight home, the coffin of a soldier was brought onto his flight, and it was at this time he knew that he needed to use his platform to help honor those returning from war.

In his speech on Saturday Prince Harry thanked all of the participants for their service, and stated “Some of you have cheated death and come back stronger than before. You are all winners. You are proving to the world anything is possible.” Canada’s popular Prime Minister was greeted with a roaring welcome and went on to give moving speech of his own. Trudeau talked about how everyone should consider what they can do to make a difference, and support the men and women who have sacrificed so much.

The games will continue through September, 30th and will conclude that evening with a closing ceremony. To view the complete schedule of events, watch live streaming matches or to learn more about the Invictus Games please visit www.invictusgames2017.com

Check out the video below from Retired US Air Force and Invictus Games competitor Patrick Roberts, as he talks about the importance of the event:

Wheelchair Bowling News

Great strides have been made in adaptive sports over the last few decades, with many of them being written about here in our blog. One sport that we haven’t covered recently was bowling.

The organization that has supported many of the advances in the sport of adaptive bowling is The American Wheelchair Bowling Association. The organization is comprised of over 500 members and growing. They’ve helped many people enjoy a sport that they love with the use of specialized adaptive equipment, including ball ramps, ball grip handles and ball pushers. Their most recent national event was the 56th Annual AWBA Tournament held at City View Lanes in Fort Worth, Texas. Visit the AWBA events page for more information.

Wheelchair Bowling Equipment

Many bowlers use the ball ramp which is intended for those with limited range of motion. The ramp is lightweight, and allows the user to easily control the ball’s release from their lap. Simply place it at the top of the ramp and release it down the lane. There are even some ramps that are operated by pressing a button to activate the ball release. The grip handle bowling ball allows for griping of a spring-loaded handle instead of using finger holes. Lastly, the ball pusher allows the bowler to grip a handle at one end and use a fork prong at other to simply push and angle the ball down the lane.

Make sure to check out your local bowling alley, since many alleys are beginning to have special tournaments and events for wheelchair bowlers! In fact, each year there is a National Veterans Wheelchair Games that features a bowling event. This year’s NVWG is being held in Cincinnati, Ohio, July 17-22.

Click here to see a clip from last year’s National Veteran’s Wheelchair Games’ Event for Bowling.

Re-engineering Sam — Glimpse Into The Future

Sam-600What started out as a team-building exercise to the Cleveland International film festival quickly became a possible look into the future of our industry, a reaffirmation of how life can change in an instant, and a renewed appreciation for how passion with a positive optimistic outlook can drive people to do the unimaginable.

The film “Re-engineering Sam” chronicles the journey of quadriplegic Sam Schmidt, an Indy race car driver who despite a crash in 2000 that rendered him a quadriplegic, never lost his hope or passion to drive. Throughout the movie you are drawn to Sam, his family, and their very honest portrayal of everyday vulnerabilities. Sam’s incredible drive to race and be a part of the racing industry has had an impact on everyone close to him. It would, inevitably, be the impact that Sam had on a fan, that would make his dreams of driving a car again come true.

During the film we are given an inside look at the doctors and scientists, who are just as driven and dedicated as Sam, to advancing adaptive technologies. Their ground-breaking technology that utilizes head movements and brain waves is paving the way for advances in the way people with spinal cord injuries operate and communicate. For Sam, the technology has allowed him to drive again.

May of 2016, Sam attained 152 mph in his adapted car at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Sam’s car uses four cameras to monitor his head and transmit his movements to the tires. He also uses voice commands to switch gears, head motions to steer and breath manipulation to accelerate and brake. In September, he was awarded the first restricted license in the nation to drive a semi-autonomous car by Nevada Lt. Governor Mark Hutchison. Driverless technology may be on the horizon, but for passionate drivers like Sam there’s nothing better than being behind the wheel.

Be There – David Trude

David-Trude-Sand-Surf2Almost 20 years ago Dave Trude was injured in an industrial accident that shattered his T11 vertebrae. He instantly lost the use of his legs, but did not lose his adventurous attitude. Dave had sailed competitively since he was a teenager, but knew continuing this may be difficult from a wheelchair. He quickly learned about the little known sport of Blokart racing, and since then has become one of the top competitors in the world!

The Blokart was designed and developed in 1999 by inventor Paul Beckett. With a background in hang gliding, he was inspired to build a wind powered vehicle that was fun, fast and compact. His vision was a great success as the Blokart can reach speeds of up to 60 mph and be broken down to fit in a carrying case in a matter of minutes. The sport gained immediate interest in Beckett’s home country of New Zealand, and since then has picked up a following in South Africa and the United States. Unlike land sailing, the Blokart is completely controlled by the users hands, which made this the perfect sport for Dave.

In 2016 Trude’s talents were on display at the North American Championships where he took home second place! Just a few weeks later Dave brought home the bronze medal at the Blokart World Championships held in his home state of California. Unfortunately, Dave was unable to compete in the 2017 North American tournament held earlier this month due to a family emergency. However, he is already looking forward to a shot at first place in 2018!

Life Rolls On: Inspiring Infinite Possibilities


In 1996 Jesse Billauer was one of the top 100 junior surfers in the world, and just weeks away from turning professional. Then in an instant, he was thrown from a wave head first into a shallow sandbar. The impact broke his 6th vertebrae. It has been Jesse’s mission ever since to help others living with paralysis to chase their dreams.

In 2002 he started the Life Rolls on Foundation to help improve the quality of life for young people affected by spinal cord injury.  They host events all over North America teaching children adaptive surfing and skateboarding. After a summer of events from coast to coast, they will host their 13th annual “Night by the Ocean” fundraiser in Santa Monica, CA.

Jesse was one of the first owners of the BraunAbility Ford Explorer MXV. After hearing about his inspirational story, Ford shot the video above as apart of their “Go Further” series.
Life-Rolls-On-Jesse