Tough Mudder, which some say is ‘probably the toughest event on the planet’, is a gruelling 12 mile assault course
A student has become the world’s first tetraplegic to take part in Tough Mudder – navigating the gruelling 12-mile course in a pioneering wheelchair he controls with his chin.
Rob Camm, 21, was paralysed in a car crash two years ago which left him with no movement in his body from the neck down just a week before he was due to start university.
Last month, he became the first tetraplegic in the world who is reliant on a ventilator to learn how to walk again using a robotic skeleton controlled by his thoughts.
Now, he has taken part in the notorious Tough Mudder challenge – dubbed ‘probably the toughest event on the planet’ – in an off-road wheelchair set on top of a quad bike.
Rob Camm sets off with his teamates as he becomes the first quadriplegic to take part in a Tough Mudder event Rob Camm sets off with his teamates as he becomes the first quadriplegic to take part in a Tough Mudder event Photo: PA Former rugby player Rob, who lives with his family in Breadstone, Glos., said: “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.
“People think that someone in my position shouldn’t be doing what I’m doing, but I’m just going to prove them wrong.”
While Rob was not able to conquer some of the obstacles, including monkey bars, mud pits, high walls and narrow tunnels, he did need to navigate difficult terrain.
His specially-made Extreme X8 electric wheelchair can reach speeds of 10km per hour – and Rob has even been able to clear tree branches and tow his dad’s 4×4 with it.
It took him through a course which is made up of Britain’s “deepest, darkest mud and soul-crushing terrain”, according to Tough Mudder organisers.
Rob added: “I do nowhere near as many physical outdoor challenges as I used to do and it is a huge thing for me to have that challenge again.”
Rob, who studies philosophy and politics at the University of Bristol, was joined at Tough Mudder in the Cotswolds by a team of friends and family.
He completed the challenge to raise money for SpecialEffect – a charity which has provided technology to help him adjust to life after the accident.
Sporty Rob had just played his final rugby match for his local team Dursley RFC when he was a passenger in a car that was involved in a crash in September 2013.
He was days away from starting pre-season rugby training at York University where he was due to study Politics, Philosophy and Economics.
The accident left him paralysed from the neck down, leaving him in intensive care for 96 days and with little hope of ever walking again.
Eventually he was allowed home, and in April this year he started working with experts at Rex Bionics in the UK and Rome to try out their ‘exoskeleton’, which is on trial.
The amazing machine, provided by SpecialEffect, sees a cap placed on Rob’s head which is covered in 79 electrodes attached to his skull which read signals in his brain and converts them into movement.
Now, he can walk using the £95,000 wearable robot, which is nicknamed Rex.
“To see my toes and my feet move forwards was pretty incredible,” said Rob.
“For the past two years I haven’t seen that really so it’s very unusual and it’s quite enjoyable to see your body moving in that way.”
Rob is now studying psychology and politics at the University of Bristol and has just passed his first year with a 2:1.
To donate to Rob’s cause visit https://www.justgiving.com/Rob-Camm or text ROBC93 to 70070.
Rob Camm’s personal website: www.cammpaign4rob.co.uk