With the right equipment, a quadriplegic can make the impossible possible. For example, Dr. House, a C7 quadriplegic, recently climbed 13 miles to the top of Pikes Peak, Colorado for the fifth time - in a wheelchair! (Watch the video.) The most important thing a quadriplegic can do is to get educated about all of the options available. Become a student of their own body. Stop being a “patient” and become a “partner” in the wheelchair fitting process. In this article, we provide some thoughts that will hopefully help you in your education about available mobility options for quadriplegics.
The Pikes Peak Challenge Charity Hike is an annual 13 mile ascent to the 14,115 foot summit to benefit the Brain Injury Alliance of Colorado (BIAC).
Is there a benefit to power assist wheelchair use? Algood SD, Cooper RA, Fitzgerald SG, Cooper R, and Boninger ML address the question in their article, Impact of a push rim-activated power-assisted wheelchair on the metabolic demands, stroke frequency, and range of motion among subjects with tetraplegia. The study focuses on users with spinal cord injuries, but the results can be applied more generally. Here's a summary of what the article discussed:
The wheelchair has come a long way. A generation ago, the word “wheelchair” painted a picture of a boxy, shiny steel frame and sagging vinyl upholstery lining the seat. Finding a wheelchair with a perfect fit or support held little value in the past. If a child was in need of a wheelchair, their growth and developmental needs were overlooked. In most cases the child would be placed in a larger chair because he or she would “grow into it”. However let me emphasize that this was the past. Now there are almost as many wheelchair styles, colors, and options available as there are children to use them. Selecting the right one for your child can seem overwhelming at times, but knowing the important needs to consider will help you narrow down your search.