Patients at Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Aylesbury have experienced life in the fast lane after a visit from all-disabled Team BRIT.
Team BRIT is the only competitive all-disabled racing team in the world and supports people with physical and psychological challenges in accessing motorsport.
On Friday 15th July, two of the team’s drivers visited Stoke Mandeville Hospital with the team’s top-of-the-range racing simulator to give the patients a taste of racing. The team has developed the world’s most advanced hand control technology which enables disabled drivers to compete on equal terms against able-bodied drivers.
The simulator is equipped with the team’s hand controls and gives users the chance to try out the technology on sim-versions of iconic UK racing circuits.
Drivers Paul Fullick and Chris Overend from Southampton gave the patients lessons in how to use the controls and shared their experiences of racing with the team. Paul is a lower leg amputee following a motorbike crash and Chris is a wheelchair user as a result of development dysplasia of the hips.
Team BRIT’s eight drivers are racing across three championships this year and have made history by becoming the first all-disabled team to race in the British GT Championship.
One of the patients who took to the track in the simulator was Cedric Bloch, who has a t4a complete spinal injury, meaning he has no feeling from the chest down and uses a manual wheelchair. Cedric’s arms and hands remain fully functioning hands so he was able to use the hand controls built by Team BRIT.
Cedric said: “The race simulator brought to Stoke Mandeville’s Spinal Unit from Team BRIT was breathtaking. The experience was really stimulating. For the 30 mins assigned, all the pain of being in a wheelchair went away. The hand controls were game changing, allowing all patients with spinal disabilities to use the sim. The true beauty was entering “flow” state = full immersion into the game. Team BRIT’s racers and coaches were true advocates for disabilities in sport and a great inspiration to life after hospital discharge.”
Team BRIT driver Paul Fullick said: “It was a real pleasure to meet the patients at Stoke Mandeville and tell them about our team. Many of our drivers, including myself, have spent time in rehabilitation units and you often ponder what kinds of activities will be open to you with a disability.
“We want to show anyone with a disability that so much is possible with the right support and I hope that the patients who tried out our hand controls enjoyed the experience and were inspired to try something new. We’d love to welcome them to a race track to see us in action soon.”
Information on Team BRIT is available at www.teambrit.co.uk