Showing posts with label Adaptive Sports. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Adaptive Sports. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

NWBA Nationals in Kentucky

Last week we made the long (so very long) drive to Louisville, Kentucky for the National Wheelchair Basketball Association tournament.

Hallow is ready to go. Having a dog makes packing for a long trip a challenge. We had to use our roof storage rack so Hallow would have enough room in the back.

The long drive was hard for Hallow even though we stopped often. I think that much time in the car stressed her out quite a bit. At one point she climbed into Caleb's lap.

Lunch at the Cracker Barrel in Arkansas. Hallow is the queen of the "sad face" look. Pitiful.

We split the drive over two days and stayed in Tennessee for one night to rest up. The hotel pool was a great reward for the boys after spending the day in the car.

Pretty girl.

Finally made it to Kentucky. I think I have more pictures of Hallow than anything else.


Surprisingly I have few pictures of actual basketball. The team played 4 games....they lost 4 games. 

Hallow resting during the games. How cute is she in that collar? I finally have a girl to dress up!

The team all crammed into a booth together. They may have lost all of their games, but they still had a good time together.

These long trips are tough on this guy. He is very much a homebody and he hates being away from his Legos. I promised him that I would buy him a new Lego kit while we were in Kentucky. As soon as Caleb's first game was over I took him to Target to pick out a kit. Best purchase ever. He was perfectly content.

He even found a fellow Lego-lover to hang out with. These 2 spent a lot of time together during the tournament.

Dirty hands and a dirty face, all part of wheelchair basketball. 

Hanging out with this fellow SB mom was the highlight of the trip for me (and for Caleb I think too). This is Annie and her daughter Anna. I've "known" Annie online for a few years and we met briefly at Nationals in 2014 but we were able to really hang out this time. Caleb and Anna were fast friends and have already video chatted several times since we've been home.

Being a pretty service dog is exhausting. We had a constant stream of people coming up to us to meet her and love on her. 

Another stop in Tennessee on the way home.


Wednesday, February 17, 2016

FreeWheel Wheelchair Attachment

I have the coolest thing to share with you guys today! I first heard about the FreeWheel Wheelchair attachment a couple of years ago and was immediately intrigued by it. If you aren't familiar with the FreeWheel, it is a wheel that you attach to the footplate of your wheelchair. The FreeWheel lifts the front caster wheels off the ground, which makes navigating rough terrain possible. Those of you in the wheelchair community know how impossible it is to push a wheelchair through grass, gravel, sand, and uneven ground in general. The front caster wheels are the reason those surfaces are so difficult to push through. The FreeWheel prohibits the caster wheels from getting in the way.

(You can read more about the FreeWheel by visiting the product website. GoFreeWheel.com
The product was actually developed by Patrick Dougherty, an engineer and wheelchair user. The product has a really neat backstory and I encourage you to read about it on the GoFreeWheel site.)

I have wanted a FreeWheel for Caleb since I first heard about the product but the steep price tag (about $600) kept me from making the purchase. I was also unsure that the product could deliver on all the promises that it made. So, I reached out to the company to see if they would be willing to give me the FreeWheel in exchange for my honest review of the product. I was put in touch with their North American distributor, Dean Miller (Epical Solutions, Steadfast Foundation), who graciously agreed to send a FreeWheel to Caleb. Yay!

The FreeWheel is designed to attach to the footplate but the footplate bar has to be in the FRONT in order for the wheel to attach. Caleb's footplate had the bar in the back (see photo) so we did have to order a new footplate.

You can see that the bar supporting the footplate is in the back. 

The new footplate has the bar in the front. We ordered the new footplate through our DME. We paid about $150 out of pocket. 

Once we had the new footplate, we were ready to assemble the FreeWheel. This is what the FreeWheel looks like right out of the bag. It looks like a lot of pieces but you won't need all of them. The FreeWheel is designed to work with a variety of footplate styles and the instruction booklet walks you through installation process based on the footplate you have.

There are special considerations if you have a TiLite clamp footplate. If you have an older TiLite chair then there is a chance that the footplate clamp won't work with the FreeWheel unless you make some modifications to the clamp. Because we bought Caleb a new footplate, he had the right TiLite clamp so we didn't have to make any changes. TiLite actually made changes to their clamp to accommodate the FreeWheel. 

If you have a clamp footplate (like Caleb) then you have to add 2 additional screws to "pin" the footplate. This makes certain the footplate is secure so the FreeWheel can attach safely to the footplate. You only have to do this if you have a clamp footplate. Again, the instruction book tells you what to do based on the footplate you have. It sounds more complicated than it is.

The FreeWheel easily attaches to the footplate.

It clamps right onto the footplate.

Caleb was dying to take this thing out for a test drive. We took it to the nature park so we could see how the wheel performed on a number of surfaces. You start with the wheel out in front like shown in the picture. In this position the wheel is not engaged and the caster wheels are still on the ground.

Caleb quickly learned how to engage the wheel by spinning the wheel back toward the chair. This lifts the caster wheels off the ground.

This is how the wheel looks when it is engaged and ready to roll

We have done a number of nature walks at this park. It is paved with crushed granite and normally I would have to push Caleb through the trails. It is brutal on my back and not terribly fun for him. Not anymore ya'll. Caleb was able to navigate the trails on his own. I only had to help a couple of times when we were headed up a steep hill. But even helping him was so much easier with the FreeWheel. I could push him up the bumpy hill with far less effort than before.


He loved going off-roading.


In this video you can see Caleb go from the rough gravel to the concrete. Normally he would have to wheelie to get over the transition from gravel to concrete, but not with the FreeWheel. 


In this video Caleb flies down a hill with ease. He goes over grass, to concrete, to gravel and rocks, to grass and back to concrete! If Caleb were to attempt this without the FreeWheel, his front casters would catch on the grass or hit a bump and Caleb would tip forward in his chair. I can't tell you how many times I've see Caleb tip forward in his chair because he hit a bump in the concrete or tried to go from concrete to grass. With the FreeWheel he doesn't have to worry about tipping forward. And I don't have to worry about him breaking his face.


This video shows how easy the FreeWheel can go from sidewalk to grass. Normally Caleb would have to wheelie in order to move to the grass.


Another video of Caleb zooming down a hill.

This product is legit. I had my doubts that it could live up to the $600 price tag but it absolutely does. Having tried it and seen it in action, I can say that it is worth the cost. Now having said that, I know not everyone has several hundred dollars to spend on this. Many of us are already stretched financially because of all the medical expenses we already have. That is where the wonderful folks at The Steadfast Foundation come in. They are offering $100 off the cost of a FreeWheel! Simply use the code ADAPT on their website when placing your order! 

For those of you who really want the FreeWheel but can't afford it (even with the $100 off) don't worry, The Steadfast Foundation wants to help you raise the funds you need! They have set up a way to create a crowd funding site through their foundation. They will help you set up your site AND help you raise the money you need!


They are so passionate about getting the FreeWheel into the hands of as many people as possible. They are willing and axious to help you raise the money needed. How cool is that!? 


Here are some links if you want to learn more about the FreeWheel:

GoFreeWheel.com: The product website. You can learn more about the product, see videos, and read the backstory on this site.

The Steadfast Foundation: Go here to learn more about this amazing non-profit, their mission, and their story.

TSF Crowd Funding: This page will get you started on setting up a crowd funding site through The Steadfast Foundation. They are anxious to help you raise the funds you need!

Buy the FreeWheel: If you want to take advantage of the $100 off "ADAPT" offer, go here to purchase the FreeWheel directly.

I will continue to post videos and share our experience with the FreeWheel. 

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Nebraska Tournament

Sometimes we do things as a family that makes me question our sanity. This weekend was one of those times. We drove from Texas to Omaha, Nebraska for a wheelchair basketball tournament. It's a 10 hour drive ya'll....for a quick weekend tournament. We must be mad.


We left Friday morning and arrived at our hotel around 6:30. 
Pizza at the hotel is always a big hit with the boys. 

SNOW! 
Even if we don't see snow in Texas this year, we can say we saw plenty in Nebraska.



This kid made shot after shot during practice. I can't believe how well he is doing. I'm anxiously waiting for his first shot during a game.


It was a blur of a weekend. The team played all day Saturday, one game Sunday morning and then we headed home to Texas...another 10+ hours in the car.

I never want to get in the car again.


Tuesday, January 26, 2016

State Capital visit and B-ball tournament

Caleb had a wheelchair basketball tournament in San Antonio this past weekend and we made a quick stop in Austin to see the State Capitol Building on the way.

This tree was really cool. The branches have grown toward the ground.

Benjamin running off some of that energy. 



The Rotunda inside the building. The boys loved this. It is a sight to see. I remember visiting the capital when I was a little girl and looking up and being amazed.



We also got to see the House and Senate chambers.



Visiting the Capitol Building was a fun pit-stop on our way to San Antonio.

 Best part of staying in hotels....the yummy cinnamon rolls!

The team.

The tournament was at Morgan's Wonderland (an amusement park designed for those with special needs). Unfortunately the park wasn't open but the kids were able to enjoy the playground in between games. 

He is looking so grown up lately. I swear he has grown about 3 inches and he just looks more mature.

Caleb's team did a fantastic job. They played 3 games and won all of them. 1st place baby!


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