02 Dec Madison De Rozario: Driving Conquered, Paralympic Gold Next?
2020 didn’t quite work out as planned for any of us. For Australian elite athlete Madison De Rozario, that’s an understatement!
The Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games were postponed, and rather than chasing Gold, Madi was in lockdown trying to work out how to keep training and motivated for the rescheduled games.
Added to that was the ever-present scourge of all athletes, an injury, and adjusting to her recent move from home city Perth to Sydney to be nearer to her coach, the great former Paralympian Louise Sauvage.
Having performed at the highest level of wheelchair racing since, aged only 14, she competed in the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games (she won Silver with the relay team in the 4x100m T53/54), Madi has become accustomed to the process of training, competing, getting injured and recovering.
Her latest injury, to her wrist, meant Madi was looking at how she could aid its recovery by minimising strain, and her focus wasn’t limited to racing.
“Together with my physiotherapist and strengthening coach, I was looking at what might help alleviate pressure on my wrist in all walks of life. We realised that driving my car with a mechanical push/pull hand control system was one of the things that likely wasn’t helping,” Madi told us.
A meeting with Total Ability’s Paul Crake offered Madi a possible solution: had she tried the Fadiel Satellite Accelerator?
“After years using the push/pull I wasn’t that keen to have to learn something new. Better the devil you know! However, Paul’s explanation of how this would not only help my wrist but my shoulders too, meant I knew I had to at least give the Satellite Accelerator a go.”
Madi’s main ‘tools of the trade’ are her shoulders. They powered her to 2 silver medals in the most recent Paralympics in Rio, several Golds at World Events since, a London Marathon win, and some World Records.
She needs them in good working order as she goes for Gold in Tokyo, but also appreciates their importance off the track, and after she finishes competing.
“Taking preventative measures to protect my shoulders is really important. Whether you’re an athlete or not, if you use a wheelchair, you need to prolong their use as they are a vital part of maintaining your independence in so many aspects of life.”
Trying the Satellite Accelerator
Paul put Madi in touch with Specialised Driving Instructor Chris Vandepeer so that she could try out the Satellite Accelerator fitted in his car.
“I was nervous. How was I going to have the same confidence I now had after seven years of experience with the push/pull?”
Madi now says she needn’t have worried. It only took her one lesson and she turned from sceptic to enthusiast.
“I thought, wow. I am so happy I got out of my comfort zone and tried the Satellite Accelerator.”
Her next thought was how to get these new controls installed on her car as quickly as possible.
New Controls: The Process
For Madi, her first step was transferring her car’s registration from WA to NSW. From then on, the installation was able to be legally certified for NSW.
Total Ability’s Complete Guide to Driving with a Disability can help anyone who needs a step-by-step guide that demystifies the process.
Once installed, Madi had the controls fine tuned: the steering wheel adjusted to ensure it was positioned where it suited her best, the handset adjusted to her hand so that it fits like a glove.
Having lived with the Satellite Accelerator for a few weeks, Madi confirmed that she is still a fan:
“I drove to Newcastle recently and it was significantly less fatiguing when compared to the old push/pull controls.”
“The quality of the Satellite Accelerator itself is amazing and I particularly like the fact I can use both hands on the steering wheel for most of the time. I’m less tired and I feel safer – I have much more flexibility and control.”
Driving Solved, Paralympics Next
Photo By Australian Paralympic Committee, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://www.paralympic.org.au/2019/03/support-athletes-preparing-for-tokyo-2020/rio-2016-paralympic-games-para-athletics-madison-de-rozario-22/
Madi’s sights are now firmly set on that elusive Paralympic Gold Medal. The Tokyo games are now scheduled for August/September 2021 and we all hope that there aren’t any further delays.
You may also like to read New User Review: Fadiel Satellite Accelerator