Former bronze medallist Judith Marshall is taking up racquet sports once more following a life-changing spinal injury – with help from a WHILL Model C.
Judith played sports competitively for many years, including a third-place finish in badminton at the 1972 Olympics in Munich, before recently experiencing mobility difficulties. Her career has involved many roles also associated with sports including physical education at schools, lecturing in sports psychology and coaching. Judith was fully active until a major disc problem resulted in partial damage to her spinal cord. With limited movement in her legs, she needed a solution to remain mobile and open up the possibility of playing sport once more – then she discovered the high-tech WHILL Model C.
"It's so hard for anyone to lose their mobility and independence, even more so if you play sport,” Judith says. “Thank goodness I discovered WHILL online. I know it's going to help me back to physical pastimes as I am discovering wheelchair sports in my area. I've joined a local wheelchair tennis club and I am also considering wheelchair curling and shooting. It seems that more and more organisations like these are appearing which is great for disabled people. My WHILL helps me get there and if I go in the car with my daughter we split it in two and lift into the boot. Otherwise I can take a taxi independently as the WHILL drives in via a ramp."
To ensure the WHILL was suitable for Judith's needs, Harry from TGA visited her and provided a full assessment. She was considering a mobility scooter however when access to her 13th floor apartment was checked, the manoeuvrability of the WHILL was deemed more appropriate.
"Since my back injury I have been fed-up using a manual wheelchair,” Judith says. “I call it my old lady's chair and find it so inconvenient.” Now, though, she can now move around her flat, including her compact bathroom thanks to the WHILL’s on-the-spot turning. The smartphone remote-control app allows her to park the WHILL out of the way when not in use – “a big advantage when living in an apartment” she says.
In addition to rediscovering her sporting ways, Judith was also desperate to look after her beloved five-year-old dog again. Labradoodle Novak had been relocated as it was impossible for Judith to walk him when using a manual wheelchair. “Not being able to look after my Labradoodle Novak was heart-breaking,” she concludes. “Propelling your wheels and holding a dog lead just does not work. Now, with my neat and nippy WHILL, I'm so glad to say Novak is back living with me and enjoying two or three walks a day along the Clyde."