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At 20, just a happy-go-lucky kid, Aaron had big dreams. His aspiration was to make a career as a professional motocross racer. As an amateur he performed well, winning prestigious events, and living the racer lifestyle – hopping from couch to couch and race to race.

But he never quite made it to the big time. Aaron went over the handlebars during a race and broke his neck.

“It was a pretty life-changing day to say the least.”

Diagnosed as a complete quadriplegic from the chin down, with a cervical injury of his C4, 5 and 6, his worst fear was realised.

I often thought, if this happened, I wouldn’t want to live anymore, that I would have killed myself.

Aaron BakerSCI Recovery and Exercise Expert

But in fact, when he found himself faced with the situation, now over 20 years ago, all he wanted to do was live.

“It was just such a reverence for life I felt so strongly and deeply. I was able to face the fear and face the challenge head on.”

Aaron was filled with a lot of anger and has to maintain a tight balancing act between his emotions of frustration, and gratitude, even now. Instead of letting them overwhelm him, he harnesses them and channels the intensity into whatever goal he is working towards at the time, whether that is function or movement.

Quite frankly, coming home from rehab was shit. There was nothing out there, no facilities available to help him with his recovery. There were standard exercise gyms, but with no adaptive equipment, this was of no use to him.

“There were no clinicians that understood my condition. All I wanted to do was work, I was hell-bent on putting in effort to maximise my return of function.”

Aaron knew if he stopped working, his body would quickly regress and he would no chance of a successful recovery. He was severely depressed, and with nowhere to go for help, he was ready to end it.

But through it all, his mother was his saviour. She scoured the country looking for opportunities, reaching out to friends, always trying to bring hope back into his life. They eventually discovered the Centre of Achievement, in LA, a teaching-learning lab filled with equipment and run by students who were working with spinal cord injury and thinking outside the box.

“I looked around the room, saw this equipment, saw this environment, I thought, ‘hell, this is where I can get it done’.”

In order to attend the centre for three years, for four-six hours, six days a week, his family liquidated their assets. His mother, after selling off everything, basically had nothing left. They received support from the state California children’s service, as well as social security payments.

“We were living off food stamps off the state, and doing rehab and mum would help others for pay. That was our life day in, day out.”

Inspired by his experience with the Centre of Achievement and also by the lack of facilities that were around when Aaron was discharged, he and his mum opened the Centre of Restorative Exercise, C.O.R.E, in 2011.

Their centre is located in Northridge, California and pledges to bridge the gap from rehabilitation to regular fitness. Clientele isn’t just restricted to people with spinal cord injury, also including stroke patients, war veterans, people with neurological conditions and elite athletes, all under one roof with access to specialists, and adaptive equipment.

“We like to systematically progress a client through phases depending on competency and abilities, it doesn’t feel like rehab, I wanted it to feel inspiring and empowering. When you come through the door, it feels like a race shop, all the equipment is clean and sharp, vibrant, and the energy’s high.”

For anyone going through a similar situation to what Aaron did 20 years ago, he is brutally honest with them.

“It’s hard as hell. It doesn’t get easier, even after all these years. Now I’m ageing with a spinal cord injury, and that’s a whole set of new challenges.”

Most of all, you have to be willing to suffer.

“That’s the bottom line, self-induced suffering. It’s going to suck either way, so you can either put yourself through the motions and get out there and be active and participate in sports, adventure, exercise, or you can sit on your ass and let this injury completely demoralise you.”

About 16 years into his recovery progress, Aaron was compelled to be go out into the dessert alone, to be with his thoughts and to see how far he could walk.

“It’s so damn hard to take a simple step. It’s the same amount of effort to take one step, 10 steps, hundred steps or 30,000 steps across the dessert. I suggest people do that for themselves, integrate with nature, learn to be grateful for what you have.”

His journey of walking 20 miles over a week, from Death Valley to a town named Baker was depicted in a documentary called ‘Coming to My Senses’.

The proactive approach Aaron and his mother took to his rehabilitation created an optimal healing environment. The change of ambience from the sterile, loud, cold mechanical hospital room to the tranquil serene environment his mother created for him, filled with music all the time from sounds of the rainforest and Tibetan monk chants created an aura of positive energy.

One of Aaron’s main techniques was visualisation, something he took from his motocross days and applied to his body. In the way he used to imagine completing a perfect jump or technique on a course, he would now imagine his muscular and skeletal system, the electrochemical signals passing through his body like electricity.  

“I focused on that wholeheartedly, day in day out. I still do.”

To use this sort of technique, Aaron recommends educating yourself with harmonics, frequency, and to read the book, The Biology of Belief by Dr. Bruce Lipton.

Learn about biology and how powerful the mind’s influence is over the restoration of every cell in your body.

Aaron BakerSCI Recovery and Exercise Expert

A huge part of rehabilitation for him involved setting goals. Having tasks to work on and work towards, made a huge difference to his progress. He knew walking again was out of the question, but he was desperate to achieve independence in any shape or form.

“My first goal after my sister painted my toes, was I wanted to be able to wiggle a toe. I focused on the left little toe and was able to make a connection. That was my first huge achievement, so I built on that one flicker at a time.”

These days Aaron tries to walk as much as possible, using a wheelchair just 50 per cent of the time. He can walk without a cane, but is pretty unstable and uses a four-wheel walker sometimes so he can sit when he needs to.

His wheelchair is just a vehicle to get from A to B. While it’s easier to the chair, Aaron knows the importance of maintaining bone density through standing, to prevent the secondary complications like muscular atrophy and joint contractions that come from sitting all the time.

Aaron is driven to be outdoors and has a garage full to bursting with various adaptive equipment. He is currently building his own Harley Davidson chopper. With a weak right hand he has limited wrist movement, so the whole bike is custom, including a Velcro strap that binds his hand to the throttle.

For others on the same journey, there are many inspiring stories on social media and Aaron implores people to reach out to others going through it.

“Don’t be afraid to ask for help, it’s my honour to share, it gives me more purpose.”

He spends five days a week at C.O.R.E and also does work with Red Bull Wings for Life, a non-profit foundation dedicated to aiding spinal cord injury research. But his new focus for the future is starting a family with his beautiful wife.

You can follow Aaron Baker on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram  @imaaronbaker or check out his website

http://www.aaronbakers.com/

http://www.centerofrestorativeexercise.com/

https://www.wingsforlife.com/en/

If you’d rather listen than read…

Listen to the Podcast with Aaron Baker now.

Currency

Retractor Location Guide - Lower Horizontal Frame Tube

Watch the video or read on below
Play Video
Brackets Used

If you choose to mount the Retractors from the lower horizontal frame tube you’ll receive two 90 Brackets (as seen below) – one for the left and one for the right side of your chair.

The Retractors slot onto these Brackets, which are then attached vertically to the Lower Horizontal Frame Tube using Clamps.

Bracket Orientation

The Brackets have a tilt feature which allows you to adjust the angle of the Retractor so that it is parallel to the Keeper, for the smoothest operation.

Key Dimensions

The clamps are 16mm or ⅝” wide

The maximum distance from the centre of the Clamp to the centre of the Retractor webbing when mounted on the 90 Bracket is 70mm (3″).

Retractor Dimensions
The Retractors themselves are 75mm wide by 50mm high or 3×2″
Moving Other Attachments

Finally, it is worth noting that other attachments, such as brakes and side guard clamps can often be moved to accommodate the LapStacker® without compromising their function.

Need Help?

If this is the only option you’ve been given, it doesn’t look like it will work, or you’ve still got questions, then please contact us or your preferred reseller, and we’ll do our best to help.

Retractor Location Guide - Front Vertical Frame Tube

Play Video
Brackets Used

If you choose to mount the Retractors from the front vertical frame tube you’ll receive two Flat Brackets (as seen below) – one for the left and one for the right side of your chair.

The Retractors slot onto these Brackets, which are then attached to the front vertical frame tube using clamps.
Bracket Orientation

The Brackets have a single long slot and rotate feature, which provides plenty of adjustability so that you can align the Retractor webbing with the centre of the Keeper. 

Key Dimensions

The clamps are 16mm or ⅝” wide.

The maximum distance from the centre of the Clamp to the centre of the Retractor webbing when mounted on the Flat Bracket is 105mm (4 1/8″).

If the front vertical frame tube is too far forward to allow the Retractor webbing to align with your optimal Keeper position, or you don’t think you’ll have clearance from your legs, you may need to consider other Retractor locations available for your make and model.

The Retractors themselves are 75mm wide by 50mm high or 3×2″

Moving Other Attachments

Finally, it is worth noting that other attachments, such as brakes and side guard clamps can often be moved to accommodate the LapStacker® without compromising their function.

Need Help?

If this is the only option you’ve been given and it doesn’t look like it will work, or you’ve still got questions, then please contact us, or your preferred reseller, and we’ll do our best to help.

Retractor Location Guide - Cross Frame Rigidizer Bar

Play Video
Brackets Used

If you choose to mount the Retractors from the cross frame rigidizer bar, you’ll receive two Cross Tube Brackets (as seen below) – one for the left and one for the right side of your chair.

The Retractors slot onto these Brackets, which are then attached to the cross frame rigidizer bar using clamps.

Bracket Orientation

The Brackets have slots in them to allow plenty of adjustability so that you can align the Retractor webbing with the centre of the Keeper.

Key Dimensions

The clamps are 16mm or ⅝” wide.

The maximum distance from the centre of the Clamp to the centre of the Retractor webbing when mounted on the Cross Tube Bracket is 90mm ( 3.5″).

The Retractors themselves are 75mm wide by 50mm high or 3×2″

Leg Clearance

Please note, there must be clearance from the back of your legs, so we suggest mounting the Bracket and Retractor back a little bit from the edge of your cushion.

Seat Clearance

The Brackets are best tilted slightly downward, so the Retractors don’t touch the seat when the chair is in use.

Moving Other Attachments

Finally, it is worth noting that other attachments, such as brakes and side guard clamps can often be moved to accommodate the LapStacker® without compromising their function.

Need Help?

If this is the only option you’ve been given, it doesn’t look like it will work, or you’ve still got questions, then please contact us, or your preferred reseller, and we’ll do our best to help.

Retractor Guide – Frame Top Tube

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Brackets Used

If you choose to mount the Retractors from the frame top tube, you’ll receive two 90 Brackets (as seen below). One for the left and one for the right side of your chair.

The Retractors slot onto these Brackets, which are then attached to the top tube using clamps.

Bracket Orientation

Depending on what clearance you have available, the Brackets can be mounted forward of the clamp (above) or behind the clamp (below) to ensure that the Retractor webbing can align with the optimal keeper position.

The Brackets have a tilt feature which allows you to adjust the angle of the Retractor so that it is parallel to the Keeper, for the smoothest operation.

Key Dimensions

The clamps are 16mm or ⅝” wide.

The maximum distance from the centre of the clamp to the centre of the Retractor webbing when mounted on the 90 Bracket is 70mm or 3″.

The Retractors themselves are 75mm wide by 50mm high or 3×2″

Recommended Configuration

The Brackets are best mounted horizontally and tilted slightly downward, so the Retractors are tucked away and don’t touch the seat when the chair is in use.

 

It is very important to note that there must be clearance from the back of your legs, so we suggest mounting the Bracket and Retractor back a little bit from the edge of your cushion.

Moving Other Attachments
Finally, it is worth noting that other attachments, such as brakes and side guard clamps can often be moved to accommodate the LapStacker® clamp without compromising their function.
Need Help?

If this is the only option you’ve been given and it doesn’t look like it will work, or you’ve still got questions, then please contact us and we’ll do our best to assist.

Side Guard Keeper Guide

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Introduction
The Side Guard Keeper is what we consider the last resort. It is only recommended after the Long and Short Keepers have been exhausted as options.
How is the Side Guard Keeper Mounted?

The Side Guard Keeper mounts inside, or cushion side, of your side guards (otherwise known as the wheel guards or clothing guards). It is fixed in place using an adhesive patch. 

 

It is not recommended for fabric side guards, although it can work there with some custom modification.

When is the Side Guard Keeper an Option?

The Side Guard Keeper could be an option when there is not enough space for a Long or Short Keeper and the side guard extends sufficiently forward of your body so that it comes close to the optimal Keeper position.

Some wheelchair makes such as the Hands on Concept range of chairs have oversized side guards and these are good examples of where a side guard can work.

Recommended Configuration

We recommend the Side Guard Keeper is located so it doesn’t sit higher than your cushion. 

 

From the testing we have done in that location, it should not interfere with the body or be a problem for skin pressure. We do recommend CAUTION and suggest that this is assessed carefully.
Retractor Alignment

Remember, the Keeper must align with the Retractor webbing so please keep this in mind as you review the Retractor Location Guides.

Need Help?

If this is the only option you’ve been given and it doesn’t look like it will work, or you’ve still got questions, then please contact us, or your preferred reseller, and we’ll do our best to assist.

Short Keeper Guide

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Mounting Options

The Short Keeper can be mounted to your wheelchair frame’s top tube in three ways.

1. Snap-Fit Mount

If your wheelchair has a 1” or 25mm frame top tube, the Short Keeper will be supplied with a snap fitting that is simply pressed in place onto the tubing. 

The Short Keeper is then fastened to the snap fitting and can be fine-tuned by sliding it forward and back, before tightening the bolt with the supplied allen key.

 

You’ll require 1” or 25mm of relatively flat clear space on the tubing for the snap fit mount and 55mm or 2 3/16” for the Short Keeper itself.

2. Universal Mount

If your wheelchair has a frame top tube diameter that is any size other than 1” or 25mm then a universal mount will be supplied.

The universal mount attaches via two supplied cable ties and requires 1 ⅜” or 35mm of relatively flat space on the frame top tubing to be mounted effectively.

 

Again, the position of the Short Keeper can then be fine tuned by sliding it forward and back on the universal mount.

3. Direct Mount

The Short Keeper can also be mounted directly to the tubing without the snap fit or universal mount using the supplied cable ties and rubber pad. 

Common Scenarios

There are three common scenarios where the Short Keeper is used.

Scenario 1 - Folding Wheelchairs

The first scenario is for folding wheelchairs (as below) that have a separate seat frame that moves up and down as it folds.

In this scenario the Short Keeper fixes to the frame top tube, not the seat frame, so that when the seat frame moves up and down the Short Keeper does not move.

 

If you have a folding wheelchair that doesn’t have a separate seat frame that moves up and down independently of the main frame, then the Long Keeper may be the better option for you.

Scenario 2 - Forward of the Seat Base

When there is not enough space to Velcro a Long Keeper to the solid or upholstery seat base, a Short Keeper can be mounted forward of your seat base provided there is enough flat area of tubing to mount it. 

 

Please refer to the three mounting options above to determine if you have enough space to mount the Short Keeper in this position.

Important Note - Leg Clearance

It is important to note, that in all cases where the Short Keeper is mounted forward of the seat base, the Retractors should NOT be located horizontally off the frame top tube or cross frame rigidizer bar as they will be in the way of your legs.

 

In this case, the Retractors will need to be mounted from the lower horizontal frame tube or the front vertical frame tube if these options are available for your chair. 

More about these locations is provided in the Retractor Location Guides.

Space for Hands

If you use your frame top tube as a hand hold for transfers then you may want to consider how much space you will have available after mounting the Short Keeper, remembering that it is 55mm (2 3/16”) wide. 

 

If there is insufficient space on top, you may consider mounting the Short Keeper directly under the top tube (as shown above) to give you more clearance.

Scenario 3 - With Strap/Belt Seat Upholstery

The Short Keeper may be suitable for rigid wheelchairs that use a strap/belt system for their seat base, particularly when there are doubts about aligning the Long Keeper up with these straps, or the surface area available to fix the adhesive velcro. 

 

This is covered in more detail in the Long Keeper Guide.

Retractor Alignment

Remember, the Keeper must align with the Retractor webbing so you may have to come back to the Keeper guides to double check your choice after you’ve reviewed the Retractor Location Guides.

Please Note

Unless asked, you do not have to know the frame top tube diameter of your wheelchair as this is automatically selected for you based on your make and model. 

Need Help?

If this is the only option you’ve been given, it doesn’t look like it will work, or you’ve still got questions, then please contact us or your preferred reseller, and we’ll do our best to help.

Long Keeper Guide

Play Video
Space Required for the Long Keeper

The Long Keeper requires 55mm or 2 3/16” of space on your solid or upholstery seat base forward of any side guards.

Is There Enough Room?

Do you have this room available? Will the location of the Keeper be close to your optimal position? If so, then the Long Keeper could work for you.

How is it Attached?

The Long Keeper attaches to the rigid or upholstery seat base, using adhesive Velcro which is provided. 

It is worth noting that an upholstery seat base or strap system often has velcro sewn into it already and this can be used in addition to the Velcro provided.

What About Strap/Belt Style Seat Upholstery?

If you have a strap system for your seat base, then you will need to determine if there is a strap close enough to your optimal Keeper position to velcro or tape the Long Keeper to.

You may be able to move the straps so that they are inline with your preferred Keeper position and if a strap already has Velcro on it, you may be able to use this in addition to the velcro supplied.

If the strap can’t be moved or you’re not sure you can stick the Long Keeper to it, then selecting the Short Keeper (shown below), which attaches directly to the top frame tube of your wheelchair, may be a better option. You can learn more in the Short Keeper Guide.

What About Folding Wheelchairs?

If you have a folding wheelchair with a rising seat frame the Long Keeper won’t be suitable and a Short Keeper will be a better option.

Retractor alignment

The other factor that is important is making sure the webbing from the Retractor lines up with the optimal Keeper position.

Need help?

If this is the only option you’ve been given, it doesn’t look like it will work, or you’ve still got questions, then please contact us or your preferred reseller, and we’ll do our best to help.

Keeper Location Overview

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Choosing the Best Keeper Location

While in your wheelchair look down at your side and imagine using the LapStacker® to secure an item. Find the midpoint for this object and take a note of where this position is on your wheelchair frame’s top tube.

Ideally, the Keepers are positioned central to where you will carry items, but the LapStacker® will still work if forward or back of this point. 

Keeper and Retractor Alignment

It is important to note that the Keeper needs to be in a position where the webbing from the Retractor can pass freely up into the Keeper and they also need to be aligned. 

Keeper Guides

Each Keeper style has its own Guide which will help you determine its suitability. Please review these guides in the next step of the selection process. 

Need help?

If, for some reason, none of the Keeper options look like they will work for you, or you’re unsure of something, then please feel free to contact us, or your preferred reseller, and we’ll do our best to help.

Key Component Overview

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Retractors

Every LapStacker® Set has two Retractors (seen below) – one for each side of your wheelchair. These contain the tensioned strap and locking mechanism.

Retractor Locations

Depending on your wheelchair make and model, you’ll be given a number of options for where the Retractors can be mounted. 

These locations include the frame top tube, the cross frame rigidizer bar, the front vertical frame tube, and lastly, the lower horizontal frame tube which is common on folding chairs and dual tube rigid wheelchairs.

Clamps and Brackets

The Retractors mount to the wheelchair frame using a specific Clamp and Bracket (there are many types, including the 90 Bracket and  1″ Clamp seen below). 

These are both automatically selected once your preferred Retractor mounting location is chosen.

They are made from high quality and lightweight aluminium, with a stylish anodized finish.

Buckles

The Buckles attach to the Retractor straps. They use high strength magnets to guide the two sides together, then lock mechanically as the straps tighten.

They are precision machined from aircraft grade aluminium for strength and anodized for a stylish finish.

 

The Buckles are held in place by your side using Keepers. 

Keepers

We’ve designed three styles of Keeper and you’ll be asked to choose one from the available options for your chair. 

Long Keeper

The Long Keeper velcros to the wheelchair seat upholstery, or rigid seat base.

Short Keeper

The Short Keeper connects directly to the frame top tube.

Side Guard Keeper

The Side Guard Keeper mounts on the cushion side of a wheelchair’s side guards