Tag Archives: ROHO Inc.

ROHO’s Smart Check™ Cushion Wins Award for Product Innovation

Toronto, Ontario, May 18, 2015 – ROHO’s newest product, Smart Check™ has been named a gold winner in the Registrant Choice Harding Award for Product Innovation by the Canadian Seating & Mobility Conference.

ROHO® is the manufacturer of the world renowned DRY FLOATATION® technology, which helps heal and prevent pressure ulcers. The new Smart Check system provides maximum skin and positioning protection, plus it electronically checks and provides real-time feedback on cushion inflation of ROHO cushions. Clinicians can confidently recommend a ROHO Smart Check cushion knowing that clients can easily check to ensure that they remain at the recommended inflation setting.

The Canadian Seating and Mobility Conference is an unparalleled forum where therapists, rehabilitation technologists, equipment suppliers and manufacturers come together to share information and network with colleagues in the field of assistive technologies. The May 2015 Conference held in Toronto, Ontario  marked the 30th year of the conference, where the Best New Product Awards were announced.

Conference attendees voted for the award nominees. ROHO was recognized as a leader in the rapidly changing assistive technologies and awarded for its innovation.

Andy Woodcock, ROHO’s Sales representative across Canada accepted the award for ROHO. Woodcock said, “With Smart Check, our cushion users can now monitor their cushion with the push of a button, giving them the security and independence they deserve. ROHO has always made the best cushions, but Smart Check is innovation that will revolutionize the cushion industry, as well as, make a huge impact on our patient’s lives.”

For more information about ROHO and the Smart Check cushion, please visit: www.roho.com/smartcheck.

About ROHO, Inc.

ROHO is the worldwide leader of seating solutions that prevent and treat pressure ulcers. ROHO’s technology provides skin protection and positioning in a variety of applications: from wheelchair cushions, to therapeutic mattresses, to wheelchair backs and more. ROHO’s products deliver life-changing benefits, offering comfort and protection to people relying on wheelchairs for mobility.  ROHO is the pioneer of air-cell based cushions, and created DRY FLOATATION TECHNOLOGY®, mimicking the pressure-relieving properties of water. With more than 1 million ROHO products in use in more than 80 countries worldwide, clinicians can be confident in prescribing ROHO products. Plus, all ROHO products are backed by an unmatched level of clinical evidence from leading researchers around the world.

For more information, visit www.roho.com or contact customer service at 800-851-3449.


Product photo available upon request
Media Contact:
Susan Lynch
Senior Director of Marketing –ROHO, Inc.

Groundbreaking Research Uncovers New Insights for Reducing Deadly Pressure Ulcers in Wheelchair Patients

Study shows air cell cushions are 10,000 times better than standard foam for preventing deep tissue injury 

ST. LOUIS, December 10, 2014 ROHO, Inc., a leader in wheelchair seating solutions since 1973, today announces research findings that recognize adjustable air cell cushions as medically superior for reducing deep-tissue injuries and skin breakdown1, which can lead to deadly pressure ulcers and costs the American healthcare system billions of dollars per year.2

The study, conducted by Dr. Amit Gefen of Tel Aviv University, provides new clinical data to guide recommendations for the best cushions to protect people who use wheelchairs for mobility. The new study is the first to offer a comparison between two commonly used wheelchair cushion technologies – foam-based (representing the largest number of cushions in use) and ROHO’s air-cell technology.

The Issue: 

Pressure ulcers are a serious public health issue: fast to develop, extremely expensive, hard to heal and potentially fatal. In the U.S., nearly 60,000 patients die each year from complications linked to hospital-acquired pressure ulcers3 – almost twice as many deaths as from motor vehicle accidents.4 The cost to treat one single full-thickness pressure ulcer is about $70,000.2

As deadly and costly as pressure ulcers can be, they remain a daily concern for the 3.6 million Americans who use wheelchairs for mobility.5 But Gefen’s groundbreaking research is changing that.

Dr. Gefen and other leading researchers around the globe found that cell deformation was the cause of deep-tissue injury (DTI), starting deep and invisible – from the inside out. Prior research pointed toward skin breakdown and constricted blood flow as a leading cause. This study was the first to apply this knowledge to a direct comparison between different types of wheelchair cushions.

“Our study revealed an important insight about the best ways to minimize these deformations – and therefore DTIs – in wheelchair users,” said Gefen. “Adjustable air cell cushions were far superior over foam and could be the key to helping avoid pressure ulcers. The findings are significant not only because of the size of the wheelchair users’ population, but also because of the healthcare system’s cost in treating pressure ulcers – more than $11 billion annually in the U.S. alone.2

Study Methods and Results: 

The study used seated MRIs and “finite element” computer modeling to unlock a new picture of the damage that causes deep- tissue injuries.

  • Gefen’s team compared the ROHO® QUADTRO SELECT® HIGH PROFILE® cushion and two flat, foam-based cushions with varying stiffness properties (7 kPa and 10 kPa) for individuals with a spinal cord injury (SCI).
  • The study used an MRI slice from a 21-year-old SCI patient to develop an anatomically-realistic model of the patient’s left buttock.
  • For all three cushions, immersion was calculated as the percentage of skin surface in full contact with the cushion. Higher figures represent more surface area for load transfer, and potentially lower internal tissue loads.
  • The different mechanical stresses – compressive, tensile, shear and effective stress – were calculated.
  • Measures were recorded for each individual model, in the muscle, fat, and skin tissues under the ischial tuberosities during sitting, to determine the risks for the specific internal conditions.
  • For ROHO’s air cell cushion, immersion was consistently in the 91-93 percent range; for the foam cushions, the range was 58-65 percent.

Results demonstrated significant evidence that skin breakdown risk is much lower for ROHO adjustable air cell cushions compared to non-adjustable foam cushions. In fact, the study revealed that air cell cushions are 10,000 times better than foam in reducing tissue damage that can cause death.

Moreover, bone flattening led to higher peak stresses on muscle tissue in the foam cushions, but lower stresses for the air cell cushion. Likewise, muscle atrophy substantially increased fat and skin stresses on foams, but substantially decreased them on the air cell cushion. Both of these sets of results demonstrate that as the patient’s condition advanced, the air cell cushion decreased the risk even further in comparison to a foam support.

“The Gefen study proved what ROHO has believed for 40 years: Air cell cushions that ROHO pioneered prevent deformation through immersion and envelopment,” said Tom Borcherding, president of ROHO. “ROHO is committed to leading the industry in developing the science to improve the lives of people that use wheelchairs for mobility, and we drive U.S. and international standards that our competitors do not. This new and groundbreaking work is already providing the evidence for a critically needed change in direction, toward prescribing better and safer sitting solutions. ”

About ROHO ROHO, Inc. is a leading global wheelchair cushion manufacturer. Specializing in seating solutions with shape fitting technology® since 1973, ROHO manufactures and distributes a variety of standard and custom-size wheelchair cushions and accessories, back systems, and support surfaces. Made in the United States for over 40 years, ROHO provides outstanding manufacturing controls for proven and consistent quality. For more information, visit www.roho.com or contact customer service at 800-851-3449.


1   Ayelet Levy, Kara Kopplin, Amit Grefen. An air-cell-based cushion for pressure ulcer protection remarkably reduces tissue stresses in the seated buttocks with respect to foams: Finite element studies. Journal of Tissue Viability (2014) 23, 13-23.

2   Duncan KD. Preventing pressure ulcers: the goal is zero. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf 2007;33(10):605e10.

3   Lyder, C. (2003). “Pressure Ulcer Prevention and Management.” Journal of American Medical Association 289: 223-226.

4   National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (2012, January 1). Retrieved September 11, 2014, from http://www-fars.nhtsa.dot.gov/Main/index.aspx

5.  U.S. Census Bureau, Americans with Disabilities 2010.

ROHO Helps Honor Disabled Veterans with Custom-Designed Cushion Donation

SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS, November 17, 2014 – During a Veteran’s Day commemoration ceremony at the historic Alamo, 40 wounded service members were honored with the gift of custom-built Segway® transporters.  Of those, four were Ally Chair Adapted Segways outfitted with ROHO® cushions and ROHO® AGILITY™ backrests.  These donations were made possible by Segs4Vets to improve their mobility and independence.Segs4Vets ceremony 4

The honored veterans served in either Operation Iraqi Freedom or Operation Enduring Freedom in Iraq and Afghanistan. Twenty five of the 40 veterans lost limbs during their service. They now carry a permanent reminder of their military service and will for the rest of their lives.

Segs4Vets is ranked as one of America’s best charities by the Independent Charities of America and has received the prestigious Spirit of Hope Award from the Office of the Secretary of Defense. Jerry Kerr, President and Co-Founder of Segs4Vets presented the specially adapted Segways on Wednesday, November 12, 2014 at 10:45 a.m. at a public ceremony during the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce’s annual Celebrate America’s Military week.

This year’s presentation is the fourteenth time specially adapted Segways have been presented to recognize veterans. Four of the 2014 recipients received an Ally Chair Adapted Segway. The Ally Chair is a new, universally designed recreational device, which is currently only available through Segs4Vets. The Segs4Vets program transforms the traditional Segway transporter into a seated mobility device for individuals who cannot use prosthetic devices.  Plans are underway to expand the offerings of Ally Chairs utilizing ROHO technologies for eligible veterans.

ROHO_SEGS4VETSThe Ally Chair utilizes ROHO’s seat cushions and AGILITY™ Backrests to provide skin protection, positioning and comfort for the user. ROHO’s unique cellular-air design constantly adjusts to an individual’s body movement and adapts to their changing shape. The adjustment and conformity of the cells accommodate and meet the one-of-a-kind skin integrity needs for each veteran throughout the day. This year alone, ROHO has donated $32,000 in engineering and customer manufactured products in support of Segs4Vets’ mission.

In addition to those who lost limbs, other recipients either sustained spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, severe burns, developed cancer, or suffered severe orthopedic, neurological and soft tissue damage which makes it difficult or impossible for them to walk without assistance or pain. Studies show the lack of mobility is a greater obstacle to employment than blindness. Many are being treated at the Brooke Army Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston. Military medical centers have incorporated the Segway into rehabilitation since Segs4Vets began awarding the transporters nine years ago.


Segs4Vets is a program of Disability Rights Advocates for Technology (DRAFT). The program is dedicated to restoring independence and productivity to severely injured service members as part of DRAFT’s core mission to expand and improve access for all disabled people. Segs4Vets has awarded more than 1,300 Segways since 2005 and plans to continue the program to meet the ongoing needs of the thousands of worthy applicants who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.  As a charitable organization, $0.94 of every dollar goes towards providing equipment and services to veterans.


ROHO is the worldwide leader of seating solutions that prevent and treat pressure ulcers and tissue deformation. ROHO’s technology provides skin protection and positioning in a variety of applications; from wheelchair cushions, to therapeutic mattresses, to wheelchair backs and more.

ROHO’s products deliver life-changing benefits, offering comfort and protection to people relying on wheelchairs for mobility.  ROHO is the pioneer of air-cell based cushions, and created DRY FLOATATION TECHNOLOGY® mimicking the pressure-redistributing properties of water. With over 1 million ROHO products in use in over 80 countries worldwide, clinicians can be confident in prescribing ROHO products.  Plus, all ROHO products are backed by an unmatched level of clinical evidence from leading researchers around the world.

With the increasing focus on patient outcomes and safety, ROHO’s established technology is paramount in treating the over 2.5 million patients suffering pressure ulcers annually and reducing the $11 billion in annual healthcare cost for the treatment of pressure ulcers.


Susan Lynch


Q & A with Jamie Goodwin

Blogging via Facebook.com/Wheelin’ Weightloss

Why did you start blogging?

I started writing and sharing my story to inspire others to lose weight and to have accountability partners in return.

Jamie Goodwin - Interviwe

If you could give your page a permanent hashtag what would it be?


Gadget/”trick” you use that makes life in a wheelchair a little easier?

Ask for help. People are always willing to help.

What would your followers be surprised to learn about you?

I grew up on a farm and milked goats until I was 12 years old.

Finish these sentences:

I wouldn’t have believed you if you told me ten years ago that…. I would be the mom of 3 boys and a pastor’s wife!

In the next 10 years I really hope… To have reached my goal weight (45 more pounds to go) and to have written a book.

If no one read my blog/posts I would… keep posting! Seeing my progress and setbacks always help when you are on a weight loss journey like this.

Visit my blog/page if you….want to be inspired to lose weight and get healthy!

I get happy when I… go camping with my husband and 3 boys!

ROHO Elite Interview: John McRoberts

John McRoberts - Elite LiveRoho
Meet John McRoberts, a medal-winning Paralympic Sailor for Canada.  John splits time between Victoria, British Columbia and St. Petersburg, FL.  Always an active person, John participated in everything from wheelchair rugby to racing before finally settling on sailing. To John sailing has longevity, “Other sports have a shelf life because of your age. Sailing can be done until the day I die.”

Disability or Age Doesn’t Matter

Unlike other sports that require being able to move a wheelchair around aggressively or upper-body strength, John points out that with sailing disability or age doesn’t matter, it’s mentality. “The beauty of sailing is that you can compete with a high level disability. Anybody can do this. [On the water] it’s about being faster and smarter – it doesn’t matter about the chair. I get to leave my chair behind. It’s really good mentally to be free from it, you know?”


As part of John’s training he spends time both on the water and in the gym. Four days a week he spends 3 hours on the water practicing. At the gym John is stretching and working with a trainer on machines.

Paralympic Sports

We asked John if he weren’t sailing, what Paralympic sport would he want to compete in? “Rugby. I played when I was younger but since then the chairs have evolved; the whole sport has evolved. Rugby is the ticket everyone wants at the games.”

Security is Peace of Mind

John is equipped with a ROHO cushion both in his chair and on his boat. “You can be as talented and adventurous as you want but if your health isn’t good you can’t do anything. Sitting on a ROHO is a huge peace of mind. I know I’m going to be fine. It allows me to check off one of those precautionary things that I have to worry about each day. It’s my security blanket. “

The Future

After meeting his wife Jackie sailing, they got married in 2010.  Jackie also enjoys staying active and is John’s sailing partner.  Together they are committed to going to the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Best of luck!

To see more ROHO Elite members ROHO Community!

Is It Time To Replace Your Cushion?

“How do I know when it’s time to replace my cushion?” This is an important question that frequently comes up at consumer shows, a question that has a several answers.

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Will 90210 TV Show’s Riley Be Hospitalized With A Pressure Ulcer?

Move over Artie Abrams from Glee, there is another wheelchair-using character on TV, this time it’s Riley Wallace, a 20-something paraplegic who was introduced this fall in the fifth season of 90210 on The CW Network. Unfortunately, like Artie, once again Hollywood ignored the talented pool of SAG (Screen Actors Guild) performers with disabilities who are wheelchair users and cast a non-disabled actor, Riley Smith, for the part. And once again, Hollywood misses the mark in many obvious areas, some which would surely land a real paraplegic in the hospital with a pressure ulcer.

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How To Go About Getting the Proper Back Support

Guest blog post by Bob Vogel

My previous column, The Importance of Back Support in Overall Health With SCI, discussed how crucial proper back support is; having a positive effect on everything from pressure reduction in the lower pelvis—meaning reduced risk of pressure ulcers—better posture, reducing or eliminating back and neck pain, healthier shoulders, to improved breathing.  This column is about how get the proper back support, including how to get it funded.

“There are a couple ways to go about getting the proper wheelchair back,” explains Tricia Garven, PT, ATP, Clinical Applications Manager at The ROHO Group. A rule of thumb is to have your wheelchair back evaluated each time you replace your wheelchair cushion—every three years, which is how often most insurance and funding sources will pay for a new cushion—something I wrote about last year in  “How Often Should You Replace Your Cushion?”


The steps on how to get properly evaluated for a wheelchair back and cushion (seating evaluation) start off with you being the squeaky wheel—you need to speak up and ask.  One way to start the process is to tell your physician you are due for a new cushion and ask for a referral to a seating clinic for a seating evaluation with a clinician—a PT (physical therapist) or OT (occupational therapist).

Another option for getting the process started is to contact your local DME (durable medical equipment) supplier and tell them you need a new cushion and require a seating evaluation to see if changes are needed in your current wheelchair back and/or cushion — they will be happy to guide you through the step-by-step process of getting the wheelchair back and cushion based on your seating needs.

If you don’t already have a working relationship with a DME supplier, locating one is your next step. ROHO makes this easy. To find a DME supplier go to www.therohogroup.com/where_to_buy.jsp and click on Buy from an Authorized Retailer Near You.

You can find Medicare DME provider(s) in your area by going to www.medicare.gov. Pull down Resource Locator on the main page, scroll down to Medicare Supplier Directory; from there type in your zip code and hit submit. On the next page check Wheelchair Seating/Cushions and hit View Results. The “default” setting on View Results is 10 miles — to find more DME supplier options it is helpful to expand the View All Suppliers Within (on the right side of the page) to a larger distance in order to find a Medicare DME provider that is also a ROHO authorized retailer.

Once you contact a DME supplier, be sure to ask the person working with you if they are an ATP (Assistive Technology Professional) and/or SMS (Seating and Mobility Specialist. These are credentialed professionals trained to identify postural (proper posture) and seating issues and have the knowledge to provide the appropriate back support and cushion solution to address your seating needs.  The ATP and/or SMS will gather your information, current wheelchair, wheelchair back, cushion, insurance information, etc. They will contact your physician and get a referral for a clinician to do your seating evaluation, or they can do the seating evaluation themselves.

The goal of a seating evaluation is to find out if your present wheelchair back and cushion is still appropriate, or whether your body has changed that may require an adjustment in your wheelchair back and/or cushion. “In order to make sure the back support is addressed during the evaluation, it is important to communicate with your clinician,” explains Garven. At the beginning of the seating evaluation, ask the clinician, “How does my posture look?  Does it look like my seat back is providing the proper support?  Would an aftermarket solid back improve my seating?”

Garven explains that changes in posture are gradual and can cause many problems including skin issues and reduction of function. During a seating evaluation it is important to tell your clinician if you have any redness or skin issues in the seated area of your pelvis, or back pain, or shoulder pain, or neck pain, or if you are finding it more difficult to push up hills or over small threshold—all of these are indicators of possible changes in posture. These changes can often be addressed and improved by proper back support. Garven explains that while most clinicians will put two and two together and look at back support as a way to address these issues, it is important for you to speak up and ask, “Is this something that additional back support can help?”

Most seating evaluations should include trying different wheelchair backs to ensure proper back support.  As an example, if somebody needs more posture support than their standard sling back provides, a clinician would put a ROHO® AGILITY™ Mid Contour Back System on their chair to see if it improves their posture.  When a wheelchair back maximizes posture and your function, the clinician has a match.  Following the seating evaluation, the clinician takes the information and writes a Letter of Medical Necessity to submit, along with a doctor’s prescription to the insurance company for the wheelchair back and cushion.

Sometimes circumstances require getting a new back support before it is time to get a new cushion.  Garven explains the sooner a posture issue is identified and addressed by proper back support the easier it is to correct. “Anytime you have issues that may be related to postural changes, like back pain, skin redness, shoulder pain, neck pain, trouble getting up hills or over small thresholds. You should bring this up with your doctor and ask if it may be a postural issue and ask for a referral to a seating clinic for a seating evaluation to look at a back support,” she says.

When it comes to funding wheelchair backs, Dave McCausland, Senior VP of Planning & Government Affairs for The ROHO Group explains that wheelchair backs are coded under Medicare (meaning they will be reimbursed with the proper documentation) and since Medicaid and private insurance companies tend to follow Medicare’s guidelines, he is confident that most will cover wheelchair backs as well.

Garven explains that the steps to get funding for wheelchair backs are the same as they are for cushions. That is, a Letter of Medical Necessity and a doctor’s prescription–like any custom mobility product, it is extremely important to make sure the exact make, model and manufacturer is on the Letter of Medical Necessity. For example, the Letter of Medical Necessity would include:


ROHO AGILITY Mid Contour Back System, 14“.

This ensures that your new wheelchair back is exactly what you tried, need and expect.  Although an ATP and/or SMS will know this, in order to get a wheelchair back funded, it is important that the Letter of Medical Necessity describes your “significant postural asymmetry” which is funding terminology for not sitting in a proper upright position, along with your diagnosis.

From there, the team gathers and organizes all the documentation. Then the DME supplier submits the paperwork to the insurance company for approval. If all goes well, your back (and cushion) is ordered and you receive the proper back support and are soon sitting up straighter, and looking and feeling good!



Bob VogelBob Vogel, 51, is a freelance writer for the ROHO Community blog. He is a dedicated dad, adventure athlete and journalist. Bob is in his 26th year as a T10 complete para. For the past two decades he has written for New Mobility magazine and is now their Senior Correspondent. He often seeks insight and perspective from his 10-year-old daughter, Sarah, and Schatzie, his 9-year-old German Shepherd service dog. The views and opinions expressed in this blog post are those of Bob Vogel and do not necessarily reflect the views of The ROHO Group. You can contact Bob Vogel by email at online.relations@therohogroup.com.

Aging and SCI: 4 Steps to Staying Healthy for the Long Haul

Guest blog post by Bob Vogel


The common saying that dogs resemble their owners (or is it the other way around?) — is becoming more apparent for Schatzie — my 10-year-old German Shepherd Service dog — and me these days. At 52, — 27 years as a T10 para — my goatee is graying at the same rate as Schatzie’s muzzle at 10. In the morning, my shoulders are stiff and sore. I can tell Schatzie’s hindquarters are a bit stiff when she first steps out of her crate, stretches and comes over to my bed to give me gentle nuzzle.

Staying healthy as we age with SCI is a frequent topic of discussion among the friends that I roll with — we seem to be aging quicker than our non-disabled acquaintances. I often joke that SCI ages us in dog years. Fortunately there are steps that can help avoid this accelerated aging process — steps that friends and I were lucky to have learned in our younger days from mentors and peers, who had often learned the hard way with bodies that wore out before their time. Following this advice and sharing it has helped us stay healthy for the long haul. Here are four simple steps to help stay healthy over the long haul.


1. Stay in Motion

Newton was right, a body in motion tends to stay in motion, and a body at rest, umm, doesn’t want to put down the TV remote and get up off of the couch. I spend a lot of time working at the computer which can leave me feeling lethargic, tired and/or a bit depressed — and all I want is the TV remote or a nap. Friends will remind me to go for a push, meet a friend for coffee, go for a handcycle ride. When I listen and do a social or physical activity I end up with much more energy, enthusiasm and creativity than if I had taken a nap.

Experts suggest a daily routine of 30-minutes of aerobic exercise is very important for overall health. This should be something fun and simple, like going on a 30-minute push in the chair. For me, choosing take Schatzie on a walk into town to get the mail, instead of taking the car, is relaxing and gets the endorphins moving. Another great way I grab a quick endorphin-producing workout during a busy day is by riding my handcycle on a stationary trainer for 30-45 minutes. As always, be sure to use a good cushion on the handcycle — I use a ROHO® LOW PROFILE® Dual Valve Cushion, custom made to fit my handcycle seat. In addition to more energy, the workout seems to sharpen my thoughts and helps keep me in good enough shape to enjoy weekend adventures. A good stationary trainer costs around $300 at bike shops, a little less online, and used ones at bargain prices can often be found on Craigslist.


2. Stay Trim and Light

As we age, metabolism slows down and it’s easy to put on a few extra pounds here and there until it really starts adding up. I hear stories of wheelers who put on weight that ends up causing a domino effect of problems, from shoulder trouble and pressure sores to type II diabetes. I also know wheelers that gained weight and through watching their food intake have managed loose lose it. I find keeping my weight under control is a bit easier if I check it on a scale every couple of days — if it starts to creep up I eat a bit less and try and exercise a bit more. I start by keeping an eye on my weight by transferring off of my chair onto my ROHO ADAPTOR PAD® on the bathroom floor, then transferring my butt onto the bathroom scale and lifting up my feet to check the scale. Doing this also helps me keep up my chair to floor — and back — transfer skills.


3. Keep Your Shoulders Balanced

Keep shoulders balanced. I learned this about 15 years after my injury when I had over-trained for an event and my shoulders were really hurting. I sought advice from a peer who had permanently damaged his shoulders from overuse. He explained shoulder damage is common in wheelchair users, often from overdeveloping the muscles in the front of the shoulders — which pulls the shoulders forward and out of balance. He explained the need to rest when shoulders they are sore or hurt, and do exercises — like rowing motions — to balance the back of the shoulder. He also suggested going to a sports medicine clinic and seeing a sports medicine physical therapist (PT). I took his advice, saw a Sports PT who, in turn, gave me a set of stretches and exercises that helped balance out my shoulders and over time relieved the pain. Sticking with those basic exercises and resting shoulders when they sore rather than “push through the pain” have kept them healthy — albeit a bit sore in the morning — to this day.

Anecdotally, a simple day-to-day trick to help keep shoulders in balance is get in the habit of backing your wheelchair up ramps and hills instead of pushing forward — this works the muscles in the back of the shoulders. Another way to balance shoulders is by handcycling and concentrating on the “pulling back” part of the cycle stroke and relaxing on the “pushing forward” part. For further information on ways to balance shoulders see resources.


4. Use the Proper Cushion and Do Daily Skin Checks

The most important advice I got from mentors and peers is to use the proper cushion and to continue doing the skin checks with a mirror like I was taught in rehab. Back in 1985, when I got out of rehab I was sent home on a memory foam cushion, despite asking my therapist for a ROHO Single Valve Cushion. I still remember my therapists faulty reasoning, “If I get you a ROHO you will get lazy and will rely on the cushion and won’t do as many weight shifts as you’re suppose to.” Looking back, all I can think is, “WHAT??!!” A few months out of rehab, despite constant weight shifts, an evening mirror check caught the first stage of a small pressure sore on my bony butt — I immediately got a ROHO Cushion and the sore healed. Fortunately, that was my one and only pressure sore. My skin remains healthy after 27-years (and counting) of diligently doing skin checks with a mirror every morning and evening combined with the proper cushion, a custom ROHO QUADTRO SELECT® MID PROFILE™ Cushion.

Unfortunately, I hear all too many stories of wheelers that never had a skin issue and for years had a minimal cushion and felt they didn’t have to worry about skin checks. Sadly, the story frequently changes somewhere between 10-20 years after their injury when a massive pressure sore strikes and they end up flat on their stomach in the hospital awaiting skin flap surgery — followed by months of recovery in a nursing home. I advise friends to take a few moments to check your skin with a mirror every morning and evening, along with making sure you have the proper cushion for your seating needs. That is the best insurance you can make to keep your skin healthy and avoid a pressure sore.

Stay healthy my friends!




Bob VogelBob Vogel, 51, is a freelance writer for the ROHO Community blog. He is a dedicated dad, adventure athlete and journalist. Bob is in his 26th year as a T10 complete para. For the past two decades he has written for New Mobility magazine and is now their Senior Correspondent. He often seeks insight and perspective from his 10-year-old daughter, Sarah, and Schatzie, his 9-year-old German Shepherd service dog. The views and opinions expressed in this blog post are those of Bob Vogel and do not necessarily reflect the views of The ROHO Group. You can contact Bob Vogel by email at online.relations@therohogroup.com.

Dan Buchanan, International Airshow Performer, Mentor, ROHO User

Guest blog post by Bob Vogel

Dan Buchanan. Photo courtesy of Dan Buchanan.

Friends and mentors are priceless. In 1985, while still coming to grips with my spinal cord injury in the rehab hospital, a fellow hang-glider pilot named, Dan Buchanan, who is also a T8 complete para came to visit me. Dan’s visit helped me a great deal, mainly because in between dolling out tidbits of SCI survival wisdom he kept looking out the window. Within a short period of time he said “Man, the weather is looking really good for flying, so I gotta go. I’ll catch you later.” This was the perfect thing to say! The light went on! Dan’s life revolves around flying hang gliders! Paralysis wasn’t even on the radar screen.

Dan helped show me the ropes of thriving with SCI, everything from advice in ordering equipment: “Order the smallest chair you can fit into, and tell your therapist you want a ROHO cushion,” to helping me rig my hang glider and get back in the air. Over time we’ve become close friends and shared many adventures.

As I said, Dan’s life revolves around in flying hang gliders, so much so that in 1989 he left a successful career in mechanical engineering to pursue a path as a professional airshow hang glider pilot.

Dan devoted years into honing his routines, methodically developing, refining, and marketing his airshow performances. These days he is one of the most sought after air-show acts in on the circuit!

One of the many cool things about Dan’s airshow act is that it enables the general public to see beyond a wheelchair. His chair has nothing to do with the act. That is, until the finale.

To get airborne, Dan launches from a moving trailer driving down the runway at 35 mph. Once he is in the air, a winch on the trailer pays out line as Dan steadily tow-climbs to altitude as the trailer is towed down the runway. He has long colorful streamers and smoke from canisters trailing his glider. He has crafted several different routines, from an opening act flying with an American flag while the Star Spangle Banner plays, to night routines complete with lights and bright pyrotechnics.

Dan’s day show is a comedy act where he “mistakenly” launches during the middle of another performers aerobatic routine. The announcer, the other performer and Dan all exchange banter on the PA and “pretend” it is a mistake, but Dan refuses to leave the sky. Soon a police car is on the ground chasing the tow trailer and the aerobatic airplane tries to chase Dan out of the sky by buzzing his hang glider. Dan tries to chase the plane away by shooting special effects rockets and pyrotechnics, his version of a “3rd world warbird impression.” At this point Dan’s altitude is about 1,500 feet and he releases the tow rope and the announcer introduces him. He gently swoops, turns and glides down and rolls to a stop front of the audience.

An aerobatic airplane tries to "chase" Dan Buchanan out of the sky during airshow performance. Photo courtesy of Dan Buchanan.

This is when the announcer explains that Dan is a paraplegic, while overhead a helicopter delivers Dan’s wheelchair which is dangling from a cable. The aerobatic plane lands and tows Dan in his wheelchair over to the crowd where Dan shakes hands, answers questions and signs autographs.

Each year during the airshow season  —  April through October  —  Dan’s performances are seen by millions of people around the world as he travels to over 25 cities. To get from show to show requires driving more than 45,000 miles each summer. It is not uncommon for Dan to drive thousands of miles in a single week to get from one show to the next.

In addition to North America, Dan has performed in Australia, Japan, Thailand, El Salvador, The United Arab Emirates, Canada and Mexico  —  an exhausting travel schedule requiring lots of windshield time as well as sitting on very long commercial flights often across many time zones.

In December, Dan was honored by his peers on the airshow circuit when he received the Art Scholl Award for Showmanship at the International Council of Airshows (ICAS) convention banquet  —  one of the highest honors an airshow pilot can receive.

Last week I was fortunate enough to catch up with Dan via phone while he was doing a “short” 700-mile commute from North Carolina to Tennessee for his next show.

Bob Vogel (BV): Congratulations on the Art Scholl Award. Did you know it was coming?

Dan Buchanan (DB): No I didn’t. It was a complete surprise and a great honor  —  also a bit embarrassing. All the other pilots are flying planes, jets and helicopters that cost hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars, and here I am flying a hang glider that cost around six-thousand dollars. But mainly it was a great honor.

BV: So I’m trying to do the math — how old are you and how many years have you been injured?

DB: I’m 56-years-old and this is my 31st year as a para.

BV: Wow! I’m 52 and 27 years post injury. It seems to me having a SCI ages us in dog years, how do you manage to keep healthy, especially with all of the travel, days of driving and overseas flights?

DB: Part of it is I come from the old school rehab where they drummed into you the how to take care of myself. I manage to keep myself thin so I’m not stressing my shoulders. I also do a skin check with a mirror every day. So far, so good.

BV: What kind of cushion are you sitting on these days?

DB: I’m sitting on a ROHO® QUADTRO SELECT® LOW PROFILE®. I love these things, I’ve been sitting on a ROHO ever since I was hurt. I wouldn’t sit on anything else. I’m not sponsored by them. I don’t even get a free cushion. In fact, I paid cash for my last cushion because I was about to head out of the country and didn’t have time to mess with prescriptions and insurance.

And I always make sure my ROHO is under me — on my car seat, on the seat on the airplane, you name it.

BV: So even with all of your travel, no pressure sores?

DB: Nope, I’ve never had a pressure sore. But I’ve dodged a pressure sore bullet. Years ago I got careless and was sitting on a seat without a cushion for a while and got the start of a pressure sore. Fortunately, I caught it during my mirror check the same day. I was on a ROHO HIGH PROFILE® Single Valve at the time…Sure enough it worked, and the area got a little better every day. Within two weeks it was gone.

I learned my lesson and always keep a cushion underneath me. And like I said, I check my skin with a mirror because I can’t afford to miss a show and I don’t ever want to end up on my stomach for a couple months trying to heal a pressure sore.

BV: Thanks Dan! Safe travels!

Thinking back to when Dan first visited me in rehab I remember asking him if he thought there would be a cure for SCI — something I secretly hoped for. He replied. “I don’t think so. But here is the deal, let’s say there is a cure in say 25-years. Project yourself 25-years in the future and think back on what you would have wanted to do. Live an amazing life full of adventure, or mope about waiting for a cure?” I took those words to heart. Here I am 27-adventure-filled-years later. Grateful for good advice from a good friend!



Bob VogelBob Vogel, 51, is a freelance writer for the ROHO Community blog. He is a dedicated dad, adventure athlete and journalist. Bob is in his 26th year as a T10 complete para. For the past two decades he has written for New Mobility magazine and is now their Senior Correspondent. He often seeks insight and perspective from his 10-year-old daughter, Sarah, and Schatzie, his 9-year-old German Shepherd service dog. The views and opinions expressed in this blog post are those of Bob Vogel and do not necessarily reflect the views of The ROHO Group. You can contact Bob Vogel by email at online.relations@therohogroup.com.