I just remembered that the TV show "30 Days" is going to premiere its third season on Tuesday, June 3rd. The second episode is one where a former football player spends one month in a wheelchair. I plan on watching the whole season, but this episode especially appealed to me. Here is the synopsis of the episode taken directly from the website. It is on FX at 10 PM EST.
“Ray played football for Baylor University from 1984-88 before his NFL draft in 1989. He won two Super Bowl rings in 1998 and 1999 as a starting member of the Denver Broncos. …In 1991, Ray was on the field with the Detroit Lions when his teammate and friend, Mike Utley, was involved in a play that left him paralyzed from the chest down.”
“For 30 Days, Ray will live in a wheelchair and will rely on his mental discipline to keep his legs immobile. His home and his car will be retrofitted to accommodate his needs. Coaching duties for his son’s football team will continue and Ray will join the Texas Stampede, the wheelchair rugby team featuring players made famous in the documentary film Murderball. He will attend a weekly support group for paraplegics at the Baylor Institute of Rehabilitation and meet with a physical therapist to monitor any potential side effects.
Throughout his 30 Days experience, Ray will be under the medical supervision of Dr. Robert Bruce in order to track any muscle loss, blood clots, pressure sores or other side effects that could occur while he is wheelchair-bound.”
But yeah. I move with the Lofstrand crutches, which are the ones with horseshoe-shaped cuffs. I used to have a Quickie for long "walks" of maybe over a mile (2AM escapes to Denny's for a burger and an orange Sprite), when I was at Sacramento State. The thing is with wheelchairs, at least in my experience, you either get a great fit or a terrible fit. Not much in between. A great fitting chair is liberating. A poorly fitting chair is almost a nuisance on your life.
As far as exhibits or games that try to mimic disability, I'm a little mixed. For instance, blindfolding an AB (able-body, heh) is not going to give much of a glimpse of the life of a blind person, who, say, is used to it (blind since birth or whatever). But I can see a wheelchair exhibit being a bit different. Back home in San Diego, the city's Therapeutic Recreation department's AB employees have often gone around in wheelchairs just to kind of keep fresh as to how it's like.
As long as there's a disclaimer that these disabilit-simulation activities are only a glimpse into disability, it probably can only help our cause.