Scottish healthcare start-up wheelAIR were key supporters of what have been described as the UK’s first ever Adaptive Highland Games. Adaptive events took place at the largest ever Mey Highland and Cultural Games in the very north of Scotland, in John O'Groats on Saturday 4th August.
This marks a historical moment for disability inclusivity. 60 para-athletes travelled from all corners of the globe to compete – some from as far as Australia and America.
One such athlete is, Scottish heavy athletics champion, Alex 'The Tank' Armor. Based in the US, Alex travelled to Scotland as part of a group of premier athletes called Uncle Sam’s Highlanders. Alex used a wheelAIR cooling backrest cushion to keep cool whilst competing in the event.
He stated, “Being a heavy athletics and strongman competitor, almost all of my events are outdoors, in temperatures up to 105 degrees Fahrenheit, and I have had to battle severe overheating due to my MS and other medical issues. This is not so when using the wheelAIR!
I was able to focus and compete at the top of my ability throughout the entire day! Truly life and sport changing!”
The wheelAIR uses inbuilt fan technology to subtly cool the users back and core by taking away excess heat and moisture. The innovation also offers significantly more support than traditional backrests.
Overheating in a wheelchair is a little-known problem but experienced by many wheelchair users. This can be from a health condition, medication, exertion or simply staying in the seated position all day.
Exercising in a wheelchair intensifies any heat related symptoms. This distracts from the game and affects performance because it is uncomfortable and can lead to more serious health ailments associated with hyperthermia.
The wheelAIR can help prevent any temperate related complications and ensure the user can focus maximum energy into their sport.
Alex is also using the wheelAIR to give his performance an edge during the World's Strongest Disabled Man tournament in Norway later this month.
Founder and Managing Director, Corien Staels, said, “Attending the games on Saturday was a fantastic moment for wheelAIR. We love to get behind break-throughs for inclusivity and enable as many people as possible to feel their best doing what they love.
We were proud to stand beside these impressive athletes and organisations who helped make this happen.”
The Mey Games were created to celebrate the late Queen Mother's 70th birthday. The event continues to be supported by The Royal Family and was attended by Prince Charles.