Mike couldn’t have gone from the guy who does it all to, well, the guy who does it all (just differently) without some seriously innovative adaptive sports gear. Living with a disability doesn’t mean you have to stay on the sidelines. Here’s a gallery for those who want to gain (or regain) their athletic freedom.
Sailing: Mike was reintroduced to sailing through the Chuck Strange Foundation’s Sonar, a 23’ Paralympic Class boat popular with disabled sailors, and has since raced in local and national regattas whenever he can find a willing crew. He has also sailed a 2.4m, a Freedom Independence, and says he would like to try the new SKUD 18.
Golf: Mike took a fourteen year hiatus from the game because he didn’t know it was still possible for him to play. At the National Veterans Wheelchair Games several years ago, he attended an adaptive golf clinic and learned that there were modified clubs, grips and carts available that let quads, paras and amputees get back on the course. Carts such as the Solorider, Paragolfer and others like the EZGO Eagle are designed to go from tee to green and allow a golfer to swivel and elevate to hit a shot anywhere on the course. While adaptive clubs are also available, most disabled golfers prefer to use regular clubs. Mike recently worked with Hanger Prosthetics to design and build a custom, carbon fiber grip that allows him (a quad with limited hand and finger function) to grasp a club and take a full swing. Disabled Sports USA has an old article that discusses the game and has a few links to help you learn more about clubs, carts, grips, rules and other adaptive devices. The rest, he says, is up to you.
Racing: Racing has been Mike’s favorite sport for decades. In 1990, racing pioneer, Bob Hall, introduced Mike to a four wheeled racer. Several months later, after a visit to Bob’s Boston, Massachusetts, fabrication shop and a few lessons on the MIT track, he was hooked. Since, Mike has raced hundreds of races, including the Boston Marathon. Racing chairs are made by builders such as Top End and Eagle and special equipment like racing gloves by Harness or Sportaid are needed, as well.
Check out the gallery below to see some of this adaptive sports gear in action: