Meet the First Quadriplegic Athlete to Take on the 12-Mile ‘Tough Mudder’ Competition

Paralyzed from the neck down, Rob Camm hasn’t let that stop him from crushing one of the toughest races on Earth.

image via cammpaign4rob // facebook

As far as athletic contests go, the Tough Mudder competitions are pretty aptly named: Tough as hell, and chock full of mud, the 10-12 mile race is more akin to boot camp training than your standard half-marathon. Participants run, crawl, climb, and leap their way to the finish line, sometimes while raising money for charity, and sometimes for the sheer thrill and sense of personal achievement.

For Rob Camm, though, it was both.

Camm has been paralyzed from the neck down since an accident in 2013 left him with permanent spinal damage. Dependent on a ventilator to help him breathe, and a wheelchair to move, Rob has not let paralysis get in the way of his adventurous spirit; This summer, at just 21 years old, Rob Camm became the first quadriplegic participant to complete a Tough Mudder competition.

Outfitted in an custom Extreme X8 electric wheelchair, which he controls with his chin, Rob explained to The Gloucestershire Echo:

I wanted to do a Tough Mudder before the accident and still wanted to do it now. I've got a wheelchair that's capable of doing it, so I thought 'why not?' It's a wheelchair set on top of a quad bike and I've not found anything that can stop it yet.

Here’s what he means:

Rob Camm and team Special Effect take on Hero Carry as part of their epic journey round Tough Mudder South West this weekend #overcomeallobstacles #neverseenthatbefore

Posted by Tough Mudder UK on Monday, August 24, 2015

But Rob wasn’t simply participating for the sake of participating. In addition to training for the competition, Camm spent the weeks prior to the race raising money for SpecialEffect, a UK based tech-firm which specializes in custom video game accessories which allow users with partial or full paralysis to enjoy the same gaming experience as anyone with full mobility. Explains Camm:

A great help during [my rehabilitation] was SpecialEffect who provided an eye gaze computer (controlled by blinking and eye movement). This provided much-needed relief from the realities of my prolonged stay in hospital. Not only that it enable me to begin another important part of rehab in how to to reconnect with the world and do things for myself.

On his JustGiving crowdfunding page, Rob has managed to raise nearly $10,000 for SpecialEffect. And while, ultimately, he was unable to participate in certain features of the race–swinging across monkey bars, and scaling high walls, for example–Camm has made an impact both on and off the Mudder course. Speaking with The Independant, Tought Mudder vice-president John Fidoe said:

We were thrilled to have Rob join us this past weekend at Tough Mudder South West and watch him become the first tetraplegic in the world to complete a Tough Mudder course His strength, determination and courage have inspired all of us at Tough Mudder and Mudders around the world

In addition to his hardcore wheels, Rob is also working with Rex Bionics to test pilot a new robotic exoskeleton which operates using dozens of skull-attached electrodes that translate Rob’s brain signals into mechanical movement. It’s just one of the ways Rob is making sure that life after his accident is as full, and enriching as it was before. Speaking again with the Gloucestershire Echo, he explains: “People think that someone in my position shouldn't be doing what I'm doing, but I'm just going to prove them wrong”

[via neatorama]

via Honor Africans / Twitter

The problem with American Sign Language (ASL) is that over 500,000 people in the U.S. use it, but the country has over 330 million people.

So for those with hearing loss, the chances of coming into contact with someone who uses the language are rare. Especially outside of the deaf community.

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Twenty-four years ago, 18 million U.S. homes had modem-equipped computers, 7 million more than the year before. Most logged in through America Online where they got their email or communicated with random strangers in chat rooms.

According to a Pew Research study that year, only 32% of those who go online say they would miss it "a lot" if no longer available.

Imagine what those poll numbers would look like if the question was asked today.

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"Few see online activities as essential to them, and no single online feature, with the exception of E-Mail, is used with any regularity," the Pew article said. "Consumers have yet to begin purchasing goods and services online, and there is little indication that online news features are changing traditional news consumption patterns."

"Late Night" host David Letterman had Microsoft founder and, at that time the richest man in the world, on his show for an interview in '95 to discuss the "the big new thing."

During the interview Letterman chided Gates about the usefulness of the new technology, comparing it to radio and tape recorders.

Gates seems excited by the internet because it will soon allow people to listen to a baseball game on their computer. To which Letterman smugly replies, "Does radio ring a bell?" to laughter from the crowd.

But Gates presses Letterman saying that the new technology allows you to listen to the game "whenever you want," to which Letterman responds, "Do tape recorders ring a bell?"

Gates then tells Letterman he can keep up with the latest in his favorite hobbies such as cigar smoking or race cars through the internet. Letterman shuts him down saying that he reads about his interests in magazines.

RELATED: Bill Gates has five books he thinks you should read this summer.

The discussion ends with the two laughing over meeting like-minded people in "troubled loner chat room on the internet."

The clip brings to mind a 1994 segment on "The Today Show" where host Bryant Gumbel and Katie Couric have a similar discussion.

"What is internet anyway?" an exasperated Gumball asks. "What do you write to it like mail?"

"It's a computer billboard but it's nationwide and it's several universities all joined together and it's getting bigger and bigger all the time," a producer explains from off-stage.

Photo by Li-An Lim on Unsplash

The future generations will have to live on this Earth for years to come, and, not surprisingly, they're very concerned about the fate of our planet. We've seen a rise in youth activists, such as Greta Thunberg, who are raising awareness for climate change. A recent survey indicates that those efforts are working, as more and more Americans (especially young Americans) feel concerned about climate change.

A new CBS News poll found that 70% of Americans between 18 and 29 feel climate change is a crisis or a serious problem, while 58% of Americans over the age of 65 share those beliefs. Additionally, younger generations are more likely to feel like it's their personal responsibility to address climate change, as well as think that transitioning to 100% renewable energy is viable. Overall, 25% of Americans feel that climate change is a "crisis," and 35% feel it is a "serious problem." 10% of Americans said they think climate change is a minor problem, and 16% of Americans feel it is not a problem that worries them.

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