Paralympic Curler Augusto Perez

The 2010 paralympic games recently wrapped up. By all reports, although limited, it seemed to be a well run event. The US paralympic team did well, placing 5th overall in the metal count.

Even as an avid Olympic viewer, prior to this years event in Vancouver, I hadn’t followed the paralympics, and had little understanding of Wheelchair Curling. My interest in the sport¬†was peaked when we were approached and asked to support one of the wheelchair curlers.

We were proud to support US paralympic athlete Augusto Perez, by supplying him with a set of D’s Locks for his curling chair.

Augusto “Goose” Perez, 35, has represented Team USA twice in the winter paralympic games. His first time on the team (Torino 2006) came only months after his first time ever trying the sport. Goose an avid soccer player, lost his left leg after 3 bouts with a rare cancer soft tissue sarcoma.

It’s safe to say Goose excelled at wheelchair curling, because in 2008 he was named USA Curling Male Athlete of the Year. This would mark the first time a wheelchair curler had been given the honor.

Goose Perez with Twins
Goose Perez with Twins

The 2008 award wasn’t Goose’s first time breaking sporting barriers. In the same year he was the first athlete with a physical disability to win gold in the outrigger canoe 500m sprint, at the World Championships.

When Goose isn’t on the ice, he would most likely be found playing with his twin children.

For Goose, like many other paralympic athletes, the love of sports and an active lifestyle don’t end with the closing ceremony. Wherever he goes, Goose trusts D’s Locks to secure his chair.

For more on Augusto visit his website Stumpede Sports. See more on Team USA at the official website: US Paralympic Team

Grade Aids

I’ve taken great pride in being a C6 quadriplegic who is able to use a manual chair as my primary chair. There are many reasons why I have preferred using a manual chair. For me, it is much easier to get around places locally. Most of which only meet the minimun requirements for “accessibility.”¬† I’ve also always felt it easier to relate to people I meet, in the manual chair, more so than a power chair.

It hasn’t always been the easier option. One aspect of using a manual chair that can be quite difficult for us “quads” is hills. Most ramps are shallow enough, but it seems inevitable that I’ll be out with friends checking out a new place, or on that first date to the movies, and I’ll have to roll up a hill that’s too steep. For me, Grade Aids have been invaluable.

I originally bought a pair of grade aids because I had a converted mini-van with a slide out ramp, and I needed to be able to drive myself. Driving was easy enough, and so was the transfer from my chair to the driver seat. I just didn’t have enough strength to get all the way up the ramp without rolling back. So it was suggested that I get grade aids.

Grade AidsGrade aids are a simple device that when “engaged” (fancy way of saying you flip tab down) it allows the wheel to roll forward but will stop it from rolling backward. The simple device can be attached by itself or with push to lock wheel locks to almost any wheelchair frame. To engage the grade aids you simple push down on the tab so that the teeth on the underside come into contact with the tire.

When engaged the wheel locks do add extra resistance making it a little harder to to push forward, but allow you to stop at anytime without fear of rolling back down the hill. This greatly reduces the overall effort.

I also use my grade aids as a compliment to my D’s Locks when transfering to add an extra level of stability. The grade aids have been an excellent device for me and may be helpful for you.