Specialty wheelchairs help athletes thrive

TAMPA (FOX 13) – They are athletes who have faced more challenges than sports but there’s a company in Pinellas Park giving them a competitive edge with the right set of wheels.

Top End Wheelchairs is customizing equipment for Paralympic athletes around the world.

“We make wheelchairs for a bunch of different sports; basketball, racing, and hand cycling,” said Katrina Piparo of Top End Wheelchairs.

Top End’s engineering manager, Paul Schulte knows the needs of his customers well. He is a Paralympic athlete.

“It’s really great to know that all the products we’re building are going out and helping someone be active and participate in sports again,” said Paul Schulte. “The product that was made in this building affected my life in a very powerful way.”

He suffered a spinal cord injury in a car accident when he was ten.

But since he got a custom chair from Top End, he’s been able to do great things.

Schulte won many medals playing on the USA National Men’s Wheelchair basketball team. Among his accomplishments is scoring a game-winning shot in the 2000 Paralympics in Sydney, Australia.

Now this American athlete is taking pride in giving back to his country.

“It’s terrific that we’re able to produce these things domestically and there are individuals across the world that want something made in the USA,” he said.

For more information, visit www.topendwheelchair.com.

By: Kelly Ring, FOX 13 News

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