Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Red Carpet Appearances with Crutches

Think the Hollywood elite wouldn’t dare to walk the red carpet with a pair of crutches? Think again.

After all of the splendor of this week's Emmy Awards, we thought it'd be fun to bring you this list of people who have made red carpet appearances with crutches:

Dot-Marie Jones (Coach Beiste) at the premiere of the third season of Glee last month.

Susan Sarandon at the New York City premiere of "You Don't Know Jack" in 2010.

British soap opera star, Kelly Marie Stewart at the British Soap Awards in 2010.

Serena Williams on the "orange" carpet for the Miami Dolphins game November, 2010.

Matthew Gray-Gubler at the premiere of 500 Days of Summer in 2009.

Soccer star, Christiano Ronaldo at the 2008 Espy Awards.

George Clooney's date, Sarah Larson, at the New York premiere of "Michael Clayton" in 2007, and George himself back in 1997.

Just because you're on crutches, doesn't mean you're not fabulous. Crutches can make quite a fashion statement, especially when blinged-out with d├ęcor or skins. Make your own unique red carpet statement and think about ways you can add some personality and fun to your crutches…and share your ideas with us in the comments below!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Teaching Your Children How To React to People with Disabilities

Guest post by Lindsey Carmichael

Most people are afraid or embarrassed to interact with someone in a wheelchair or on crutches, and I think this is common for two reasons. First, many people have not had the opportunity to interact much with disabled people. That’s the primary reason anyone feels awkward or nervous around someone from a minority group.

The second reason is a scenario I see very often and it is almost tragic. In an effort to be polite, most people will teach their kids to not bother any disabled people they meet. Let’s say for example that I am at the grocery store checkout next to a mother and her son. He is naturally curious about my Mobilegs and will look at me quite openly, trying to figure out why I am different.

Often a kid in his position will ask the obvious question. At this point, the normal reaction of the mother is to turn beet red, scold her son for being rude, apologize to me, and drag her son away. I feel really bad for the parent in this situation since they are only trying to be polite — and are probably just doing the same thing their parents told them.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t teach the child to be polite. This teaches the child that a disabled person is scary, different, and shouldn’t be approached. It is true that nobody likes to be stared at, and when I was young I used to be embarrassed. Think of what it might feel like for a mother to tell her son not to stare at you. Wouldn’t you start feeling different and wishing people wouldn’t approach you, either?

The best solution for this that I have seen is for the parent to allow the child to look and ask their question, then to answer calmly. Even if you feel weird, just pretend that everything is normal — and it will be. I love it when the parent suggests to the child that maybe they could ask me politely why I am on crutches. This has the added benefit of giving the child full permission to interact with me, and to become comfortable with speaking to someone different.

I am always sure to take the question seriously and to give an honest answer, even if it’s just as simple as “I get sore sometimes and these help me get around.” When a parent responds instead of overreacting, he or she will help the child and the disabled person so much more than if they simply tried to be “polite” in the first place.

Lindsey Carmichael is a two-time Paralympic archer and Mobilegs user.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Five Stretches to Prevent Fall Sports Injury

With a new school year comes a new season of fall sports, from elementary school to college athletics and beyond.

Football…22 players on a 100-yard field tackling one another over the pigskin.

Gymnastics, cheerleading, diving…athletes flying through the air without any protective padding.

Cross-country running…which has been reported to have the highest injury rate of scholastic sports.

Unfortunately, fall sports bring the tendency for injury that can be devastating for young athletes and of course, a constant worry for parents and coaches alike. A large majority of injuries are caused by dehydration and improper (or utter lack of) warm up and stretching.

The Mayo Clinic offers stretching exercises as a guide for injury prevention. Here are five basic stretches that can help prevent common sports injuries to the legs and hips:

1. Calf Stretch. Using a wall for balance, place one foot in front of the other and slightly bend the front leg forward, keeping the back knee straight and heel on the floor. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds. Switch legs and repeat.

2. Hamstring Stretch. Lie on the floor and raise one leg, keeping the knee slightly bent. Straighten the knee and hold the stretch for 30 seconds. Switch legs and repeat.

3. Quadriceps Stretch. Using a wall for balance, grasp one ankle and pull heel up and back. Hold for 30 seconds. Switch legs and repeat.

4. Hip Flexor Stretch. Kneel on one knee, placing the opposite foot in frond of you. Lean forward, shifting more body weight to our front let. Hold for 30 seconds. Switch legs and repeat.

5. ITB Stretch. Using a wall for balance, cross one leg over the other at the ankle and extend the same arm overhead, reaching to the other side. Hold for 30 seconds. Switch sides and repeat.

Regardless of preventative measures, there were an estimated 1,195,815 high-school sports-related injuries in the United States during the 2010-11 school year. Injuries do happen, and often times, athletes are given crutches that have the potential to cause additional injury. If you (or someone you know) suffers from an injury, we hope you’ll consider Mobilegs crutches during recovery, and get back in the game as quickly as possible.