05/11/18

Ottobock provides top-of-the-range sports equipment to veteran

Ottobock were delighted to be able to donate two handbikes to Blesma, an armed forces non-profit charity supporting limbless veterans in the UK for the duration of their lives.

The first of the Wolturnus Antaras handbikes that Ottobock donated was given to Blesma member Nick Franklin, a veteran of the War in Afghanistan and a below-the-knee amputee.

After leaving the military, Nick has been spending time with his family, including his two young children in his home town of Brighton, as well as working in one of the UK’s most popular DIY and home improvement stores. He was hoping to receive funding for a handbike for about a year before Ottobock contacted Blesma with the offer for the free-of-charge equipment, and Nick jumped at the chance to receive his own bike.

Nick explains that the handbike will help him not only physically but psychologically too; “I am really excited to be able to get out handbiking after trying it some time ago at Headley Court. I hope to train for the Invictus Games in the future, so this is a great boost for my fitness. The handbike is also going to be really good for my mental health. When things get too much, going out on the bike distracts you, puts your mind to something else and it’s productive too.”

Ottobock Technical Services Manager Russell Pizzey came up with the idea of donating the handbikes, which had been used for demonstrations at previous industry events but never regularly used by anyone. Russell says; “It’s great for us to be able to support people wherever we can in sourcing equipment. It means that an aspiring athlete like Nick can get out there and achieve his dreams. Seeing the smile on his face when he first rode on the handbike, that’s one of the very best parts of my job.” Russell is familiar with the world of Para-sports, having worked in Ottobock’s technical services team at various Paralympic Games and Invictus Games in London and Toronto, where he supported elite international athletes with repairs and maintenance to their equipment.

The Antaras is a handbike for cyclists who ride for exercise and for fun. The handbike has an adjustable seat depth and back angle, so it is suitable for users who need to continually adapt the seating position. The Antaras can be used with a seated or recumbent position. The back support is ergonomically designed and gives all users – including those with limited balance – the necessary support so that all their energy can be harnessed for propulsion.

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Ottobock UK Media Team

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