From Football to Rehab to Walking
“I was always an athlete,” says Erin Saari, 33, a former member of the Halifax Xplosion, a female football team in Nova Scotia, Canada. “I’ve been playing sports since I was just a young pup.” But in August 2016 Saari’s athletic lifestyle was put on hold when she broke her neck after a dive into a pool. “I immediately knew something was terribly wrong. I was conscious and tried to stand up, but I couldn’t move my legs.”
Fortunately, her partner, Chris, was there. “When I awoke Chris was asking me if I could move or feel anything. I had sensation in most areas, but no movement. I knew I was paralyzed.” Saari was diagnosed with a C4 incomplete injury at the Nova Scotia Rehabilitation Centre. “In the first two weeks after my injury,” she says, “I was unsure of what to think. I didn’t know there was a possibility of a real recovery after paralysis.”
But like many with incomplete injuries, she began to see return below her level of injury rather soon. “After the first subtle movement of my left thigh (28 days post-injury) I thought and said out loud, ‘I got this!’” Saari’s therapists began to put her through intense rehab. “We did lots of standing as soon as I was able to, and we also did cardiovascular training to get my heart pumping like it used to. I also began using the body weight-supported treadmill to start walking again. We’re currently working on walking up and down stairs, balance and we’re tracking how far I can walk.”
With her ultimate goal of using a cane on a daily basis, not a wheelchair, she knows how lucky she really is. “I believe that I will be walking consistently throughout the day at some point, but I know that it will take a lot of time, and if I don’t get there, I know that I have tried my best, and it will have nothing to do with a lack of determination and will.”
Adaptive Sailing Gets a Joystick Upgrade
Splashelec is aiming to transform the world of adaptive sailing with its multiple-joysticks steering system. It’s configurable, so one joystick can control direction and the other operates steering with the sails and rudder. Some sailors opt for three joysticks, separating the steering components, and if you cannot use a joystick, control buttons can be used instead.
Made in France, this controller implements a “CAN interface” electronic card that gives you feedback from the boat in the form of pressure on your hand as if you were steering the boat directly. For pricing and more ways to automate your adaptive sailing experience, please visit splashelec.com.
Finally, an Accessible Tiny Home
For those interested in joining the tiny house craze, a wheelchair accessible tiny home that includes a roll-in shower option (installed on the front porch), large doorways and a bump-out kitchen is available from Hobbitat. At 455 square feet, the Blue Sky model is larger than most of their models, which cost between $45,000-$100,000, depending on options and finish. Check it out at hobbitatspaces.com/product/tiny-house-plan-3-blue-sky.