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UO Students Design Vest for Paralympians

EUGENE, Ore. — One of the paralympians who’s heading to London this summer to compete in the 2012 Paralympics with the U.S. Paralympic Wheelchair Rugby Team will be taking a special vest designed by a group of University of Oregon students.

Will Groulx, a former Navy veteran, was injured in a motorcycle accident back in 2000, but that hasn’t stopped him from living his dream: winning gold at the Paralympic Games.

Groulx is paralized from the chest down and has lost his ability to sweat, which tires him out pretty easily.

But a group of UO students teamed up with Groulx to create a vest that increases athletes’ energy levels as they are competing and, most importantly, cool them off.

The item has been tested over the spring and summer and is ready to make its debut in London this summer.

“What these things are doing is creating access to sport, and it’s opening up opportunities too for people to improve on their lives,” said student Ryan Fiorentino.

“It’s helped with not only lowering my fatique level but also increasing and making recovery a lot quicker,” Groulx said.

Groulx says no matter what type of injury someone suffers, as long as they have the drive to compete, they can do just about anything they set their mind to.

You can learn more about how the vest works, as well as several other new developments designed to help paralympians by stopping by the Jaqua Center at the UO this Saturday and Sunday.

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