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Drayson Center¹s new equipment makes it no sweat for wheelchair users to work out

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Delmon Dunston clenched his teeth and drew a deep breath as he lifted weights.

It was a relief for Dunston to use the new wheelchair-accessible workout equipment in the Drayson Center¹s weight room. The equipment arrived at the Drayson Center Jan. 5 and has made working out a reality for those in wheelchairs.

Five years ago, Dunston was wrestling with a friend when he suffered a spinal cord injury that left him unable to move his legs and some muscles in his right hand.

“I lost so much, but I had to get it back,” he said.

Dunston is a wheelchair rugby player and works out at an area fitness center, but admits that was a challenge to use the weights at other fitness centers.

“I used to have to get out of my chair,” he said. “That was half of the workout ‹ the transfer ‹ it would take more time to get out of my chair than to do the workout.”

Daniel Bunnell, who is on the wheelchair rugby team with Dunston, says the equipment is ideal for those who have been recently injured and are not accustomed to transferring out of their chairs. He has had his spinal cord injury for 10 years and is used to transferring.

“It opens up opportunities for people with disabilities,” he said. “It changes lives.”

Vivi Burns, director of PossAblities, a program developed by the Loma Linda University Orthopedic and Rehabilitation Institute, said the Drayson Center is the first gym in the area to have adaptive equipment for people with disabilities.

With the exception of rehabilitation facilities, the Drayson Center¹s wheelchair-accessible equipment is the only of its kind that Dunston has found at a gym in San Bernardino and Riverside counties.

“It¹s just all-around more convenient,” he said. “It¹s a lot easier because now I can come for a workout before I play rugby.”

Eleven different workouts will be available to those in wheelchairs, including a gripless curl machine for those with higher-level spinal cord injuries. Those in wheelchairs can remain seated and position their chairs into place to use the 11-station universal gym, but the station also can be used by those who are not in wheelchairs.

“When you have a Disability, the best thing you can do is stay in shape. The better shape you get in, the easier life is,” said Willie Stewart, PossAbilities program coordinator. “This is specifically geared so people in wheelchairs can go into the gym and have a full body workout.”

The Magnum Fitness universal gym is ideal for the program¹s wheelchair basketball and rugby players to use. The membership fee to the Drayson Center is $12 for PossAbilities members.

The Drayson Center already has a wheelchair lift for the pool and two arm workout machines to be used while sitting. The center also will have an “easy glider” that holds those in a wheelchairs in standing positions while they exercise.

C.L. LOPEZ, Staff writer,

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