Tag Archives: chris colwell

Ultimate Accessible Apartment Living


Leaving the hospital after a spinal cord injury is one of the most stressful things anyone can endure. Everything is completely different and you must relate to the world in a whole new way. This is especially true with your home.

For many of us, our favorite room or activity in our home is no longer possible, and it can feel pretty lousy on top of everything else we’re already dealing with.

For this post we’re specifically talking about accessible modifications in apartments – they’re some of the most popular forms of housing for many people with SCI, and there are many things you can do to an apartment despite being a renter. There are some great accessible apartments that come by default too.

Check out three of these apartments below, and some great DIY’s to help take your place to the next level.

Video #1: “Lucky Lady Crystal” Gives the Grand Semi-Accessible Apartment Tour

If you haven’t watched a video by Crystal yet, a spunky C6-7 quad, then you’re totally missing out. In the video, she gives a tour of her self-dubbed “semi-accessible” apartment located in a 200 hundred your old building where the kitchen isn’t quite accessible, but the rest of the apartment is.

The reason the inaccessible kitchen works is because her caregivers visit three times a day and help her with her meals. And in her bedroom, she has a barrier-free ceiling lift that carries her from her bed to her bathroom, right over her bathtub.  She also has a very cool modified tub chair that many quads will likely covet hard after seeing.

Check it out: C-6, C-7 quadriplegic gives a tour of her semi-handicap accessible apartment

Video #2: Quad Moves to Dubai, Adapts New Apartment

Meet Chris Colwell. He very well could be in the running for the most interesting man in a wheelchair in the world. A longtime resident of Florida, he moved to Dubai on a whim a few years ago, and in this video he gives a tour of his new apartment. Very interesting stuff.

Since he’s a renter, he couldn’t make many big adaptations to the apartment itself either. He did however do several small modifications – Chapstick on a string and tied to his bed in case he drops it, zip ties on the door handles for the heavy doors in Dubai (most are all wood) and a CD glued to the bottom of his cologne bottle to make it easier to pick up.

Watch: Quadriplegic Adaptations Part 2

Video #3: “Try Me” Accessible Apartment for Inpatient Newbies

Over in Australia they have a really cool thing going on for newly injured individuals who have yet to leave the hospital. It’s the CHOICES Apartment – a completely accessible two bedroom, 2 bathroom apartment, 2 bathroom, and it’s a beautiful piece of work.

This perfectly accessible home, from the lowered kitchen countertops and pull out dishwasher to the two roll-in showers, is part of Spinal Cord Injuries Australia, a great organization down under helping people with spinal cord injuries live independent lives.

Watch: SCIA’s CHOICES Apartment

It’s never easy getting your place ready for your new life post-injury, but we hope these videos give some insight into how it can be done, and that no way is the absolutely “right way” to go about doing it. Everyone has their own personal requirements of accessibility, and that’s absolutely ok.

What adaptations have you made to your apartment that have made a huge impact?

Watch the videos!

Crystal, a C6-7 quad, gives a tour of her semi-accessible place

Chris Colwell, a C5-6 quad, showing off the adaptations in his apartment in Dubai

SCIA in Australia gives a tour of their accessible apartment for inpatient patients

Wheelchair Drifting – Turning Lemons Into Awesomeness


Made popular by The Fast and the Furious movies, drifting is the art of your car’s back wheels gliding after gaining momentum. This is done by turning to the side real fast, and it can be pretty awesome to see. Not surprisingly, wheelchair-users are getting in on the drifting action (it was only a matter of time).

Drifting however is all about surfaces. From blacktop and tile to natural surfaces like ice, how well you drift (and impress everyone around you) is dependent on it. The “vehicle” as well is just as important. Powerchairs are the  easiest to drift, however I have seen manual chairs drift on ice. Check out our three sweet wheelchair drifting videos below showing how it’s done on all surfaces.

Our first video comes from one of the most prolific quadriplegic video bloggers in the world, Chris Colwell, a U.S. resident currently living overseas in the Middle East. He loves high adrenaline fun (he was injured in the sky-diving accident) so it comes as no surprise he’s perfected how to drift in his Permobile powerchair, and on fancy Arabian tile no less.

It’s only 36 seconds long, but it’s worth a look. It shows him on some tile in a mall, drifting in circles over and over again, and the speed he get as he continues to drift is awesome. Not sure how he doesn’t get dizzy, but he seems to have a natural talent for these kinds of things. Watch Chris drift like a champ on fancy tile

If you have access to an ice rink, or maybe the road outside your house just got hit with some frozen rain (eek!), drifting on ice can be some of the most fun you’ll ever have in your chair. You can really get a big drift going in your wheelchair on ice; much better than on any other surface, and our second video from a spry wheelchair-user having fun at Penrith Ice Palace in Sydney, Australia proves just that.

In the video, you get to see his impressive wheelchair drifting skills during a free skate (with able-bodied skaters everywhere). His dodging skills are also crazy good, especially when he’s at top speed. While it’s probably best not to do this with so many people around, this video is a riot. Watch wheelchair drifting on ice

If you happen to not have any ice around, you can always wheelchair drift on a wet blacktop surface, like a freshly cleaned and still-wet sidewalk, as this video showing a Mike Oliveri, a very guy with Muscular Dystrophy, drifting in Hollywood late at night illustrates. In the video, he and his buddies decide to venture out to record wheelchair drifting high-jinks, and they catch some pretty epic stuff.

While a random drunk girl sees the drifting and decides to stop and watch and kinda gets in the way (she also has a potty mouth; parents be warned), the drifting he musters by the end of the video is pretty awesome. Whoever thought a wet sidewalk could be the basis for something so awesome? Watch some epic late night Hollywood wheelchair drifting

If you dream of learning how to wheelchair drift too, remember, be careful. Start out slow and make sure you’re not in a high traffic area. It can be awesome though, so don’t let a little required practice turn you away from your wheelchair drifting dreams. Who knows, maybe you’ll be cast in the next The Fast and the Furious movie.

Where have you drifted your chair?

Watch the videos!

Chris Colwell wheelchair drifting on Arabian tile

Wheelchair drifting on ice in Australia

Wheelchair drifting on a wet sidewalk in Hollywood