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Incontinence Support Blog

5 Ways Adaptive Sports Changes Lives with Men's Liberty

Posted by Mens Liberty

Jul 5, 2014 2:15:00 PM

Men’s Liberty has been privileged to be a Mission: ABLE partner and supporter of the National Veterans Wheelchair Games which are taking place in Tampa in July 2013. We’ve learned SO much from these inspiring athletes. And every time I talk to the competitors they give me new reasons to believe in the resilience of the human spirit. They speak with passion and conviction about the impact that adaptive sports have had in their life. Whether you’re an old hat or still a bit green, we’ve heard your stories and wanted to share the top 5 ways you say that adaptive sports have changed your lives. Have additional ways – let us know in the comments!

The stories below are from a variety of individuals, including veterans and civilians with spinal cord, traumatic brain and other injuries.

#1 – "Today, I am only on three different medications (down from 15) because of skiing. I have had the same coaches for the last three years and they have seen fast and unbelievable changes in me with my TBI."

Spc. Joel Hunt is an army veteran with a Traumatic Brain Injury who competes as an Alpine Skier. 

"When I came home I spent one year in a wheelchair feeling helpless. I was always the man that provided for my soldiers. And now I had to swallow my pride and ask for help. When my parents came to take care of me they constantly motivated me by getting me out of the house. I was lucky because a lot of soldiers do not have that support system. I am from Kokomo, a small town in Indiana and I had never skied before in my life. What I didn't realize is that skiing would change my life. In February 2008, I started getting out of my wheelchair because of my dizziness and my blackouts due to overheating. Plus, I didn't have enough control in my legs due to numbness and I was on 15 different kinds of medications. At times, my speech was slurred and my thinking was so slow that people thought I was drunk.

Since I had PTSD and TBI, I never wanted to get out of the house. My parents forced me to go to BOEC TBI ski camp to give it a try. On December 17, 2008, I learned how to ski and was told that I was carving on the third day. I was then introduced to NSCD to learn to race camp which I did well on rec skis. My best friend told me to check out CAF Operation Rebound and because of them and Disabled Sports USA's (DS / USA) efforts, I was able to compete that next year."

How adaptive sports changed your life: "Today, I am only on three different medications (down from 15) because of skiing. I have had the same coaches for the last three years and they have seen fast and unbelievable changes in me with my TBI."

For more information on Joel, visit: http://www.va.gov/adaptivesports/va_groups_story-JoelHunt.asp

#2 – “Playing sports, along with everyone's support, played a key role in my physical recovery as well as my psychological recovery.”

Carlos Leon is a quadriplegic and former marine who competes in the Discus. He’s only 2.62m from breaking the world record!

Training Regimen: "I pretty much live at the gym because I want to be the best in the world at the discus throw."

How did you get involved in adaptive sports: "My parents are Colombian so playing soccer at an early age is a tradition in my family. I've been an athlete my entire life. In June 2005, I had recently returned from deployment in Iraq and was six months from relief of active duty. While stationed in Hawaii's Kane'ohe Bay, I went swimming with some friends. I dove in the water, hit some coral rock and broke my neck at the fifth cervical vertebrae. Five months later, I attended my first sports camp."

How adaptive sports changed your life:
"My family, friends and the Corps were behind me 100%. Playing sports, along with everyone's support, played a key role in my physical recovery as well as my psychological recovery. Six years have passed since my accident where I lost function of my limbs. Now, I can walk with the assistance of a cane or walker. My discus throw, which is now my sole focus, has gone from eight meters on my first throw five years ago to nearly 24 meters. I am only 2.62 meters off the world record."

For more information on Joel, visit: http://www.va.gov/adaptivesports/va_groups_story-CarlosLeon.asp

#3 – “Growing up, I didn't know any injured people. The only injured people we see are the people at traffic stops asking for change. Paralympic sports opened my mind to a different world. I learned that I had options."

Kari Miller is an Army veteran and double amputee. She competes in women’s sitting volleyball and won a silver medal at the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing, China and named best libero at the 2009 Euro Cup.

How did you get involved in adaptive sports: "In December 1999, I was on leave of duty to visit my family for Christmas. While driving, my car was struck by a drunk driver and as a result, I lost both of my legs. In the weeks following the accident, I had plenty of bad days but my physical and emotional rehabilitation came through athletic competition."

How adaptive sports changed your life:
"Through sport competition, my work with the USOC Paralympic Military Program and support from my family, I realized my full potential as an athlete with a disability. Growing up, I didn't know any injured people. The only injured people we see are the people at traffic stops asking for change. Paralympic sports opened my mind to a different world. I learned that I had options."

Kari participates in sports for: Rehabilitation, competition and teaching other disabled Veterans about sports.

Fun fact: Kari is a rock climber and comic book enthusiast.


#4 – Going from instructor to student gave me a new appreciation of how “hard it is for our students to do what we ask them to do; and how dedicated and competent our instructors are.”

For many years, I taught skiing and snowboarding at the Adaptive Sports Foundation as a volunteer instructor. I skied or snowboarded everywhere on Windham Mountain with ease. I gave the first snowboard lesson to many of our students on the racing team.

Life changed for me a few years ago when I developed a neurological condition that cost me the use of my legs. In 2008, I could no longer snowboard or ski. In fact, I could barely walk.

So, I became an indoor volunteer, doing what I could to remain active in the program and stay in contact with friends, fellow volunteers, and students. My fellow instructors and students, especially Michael Mistretta, Kevin Cohane, John Swartwood and Mary Bozzone, gave me wonderful advice on how to cope with my new disability, which made life a lot easier. I learned how to use crutches and a wheelchair, which was something I never thought I would have to deal with on a personal level.

Last winter, I took the plunge and tried mono-skiing. With assistance and encouragement from Adam DeMuth, my daughter Dani, and many other instructors, I was finally able to get back on the snow. The experience was exciting and enlightening! Being on the other side, a student and not instructor, brought home two things I never understood before: first, how hard it is for our students to do what we ask them to do; and second, how dedicated and competent our instructors are.

I wish I could say I was an instant superstar, but the fact is, I did a lot of falling, and Adam and Dani did a lot of picking up. I knew what I was supposed to do, but I wasn’t always able to do it. And, it is amazing how steep White Way, a Windham Mountain beginner trail, looks when you are going down in a mono-ski and not upright on a snowboard. After a few days and many runs, I was able to master Willpower, another Windham Mountain beginner trail, and get up and down White Way with ease.

My instructors displayed infinite patience, not only teaching me how to ski, but encouraging me after each frustrating fall. This year my goal is to improve enough so that I can return to teaching. If I can accomplish that, I know I will be better than I ever was before, because now I have seen life from the other side.

For more information on the Adaptive Sports Foundation, visit: http://blog.adaptivesportsfoundation.org/2011/03/volunteer-gains-first-hand-insight-as-role-changes-from-instructor-to-participant/

#5 –  “When you’ve had a traumatic injury it affects your social life, self-confidence and self-worth. Our job is to say ‘your life has changed but it hasn’t gone up in smoke’.”

Tom Brown, who was a rehabilitation therapist at McGuire VA hospital and director of the first National Veterans Wheelchair Games, knows firsthand the therapeutic value of adaptive sports. Born without legs— “I have been basically between artificial legs and wheelchairs all my life”—at age 7 he was the youngest member of an all-men’s wheelchair basketball team.
While majoring in music at the University of Illinois, Brown enthusiastically participated in UI’s wheelchair sports program—one of the few in the country at the time. In the end, love of sports prevailed; he pursued his master’s in therapeutic rehabilitation (TR).

“The goal of TR is to get people with disabilities out into the community,” Brown, Paralyzed Veterans’ director for the 32nd Games, explains. “When you’ve had a traumatic injury it affects your social life, self-confidence and self-worth. So we work on whole body, mind and soul. All of these [injured] were military vets, parts of teams—now suddenly they are on their own, they can’t be part of something. Our job is to say ‘your life has changed but it hasn’t gone up in smoke.’ ”

Dr Ken Lee, head of spinal cord medicine at VA Medical Center in Milwaukee, and himself a combat veteran and former patient (he received a traumatic brain injury from a suicide car bombing) seconds Brown’s view. “We’ve been pushed to do some sports since childhood,” he says. “It makes sense that when we have an injury or life-altering medical event, we can use sports to get back into the world—the wheelchair is no longer a boundary.”

A member of the Games’ national physician team since 1999, Dr. Lee sees it as an event that epitomizes adaptive sports’ unique healing abilities. “Many people think adaptive sports are fun and games,” he says. “They don’t realize it is all about rehab. Adaptive sports keep the rehab in motion—and keeps the injured moving forward.”

Both Lee and Brown see an added value in the sheer numbers competing. “The modeling between a new vet and a worldly vet, who has been to the Games and been out in the community is remarkable,” Brown says. “It’s worth probably more than any therapist or hospital program could ever do. It’s one thing for an able-bodied person to tell them ‘you can do it’—when they see fellow vets doing it, it sinks in.”

For more information on the Paralyzed Veterans of America and the Wheelchair Games, visit: www.pva.org

Have additional stories you want to share?  Let us know in the comments!


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Topics: adaptive athletes, spinal cord injury, mission able

Only 3 Days Left... Join Us at the National Veterans Wheelchair Games

Posted by Sarah Woodward

Jul 16, 2013 9:31:00 AM

The National Veterans Wheelchair Games kicked off on Saturday - and what a day! We got a chance to catch up with lots of Liberty users, check out the coolest new tech and meet all sorts of inspiring new people.

For those of you that don't know, the Games needs thousands of volunteers to make things flow smoothly and every staff member here at Men's Liberty has been helping out. There are three days left and they could always use more help! So if you're in the Tampa Bay area come on down to the convention center and check it out!

To get you pumped, check out this trailer with photos and videos from the first two days of competition!


For more information on the Games, visit the PVA online at: www.wheelchairgames.pva.org

Topics: wheelchair games, adaptive athletes, National Veterans Wheelchair Games, veterans, spinal cord injury, mission able

Count Down to the Wheelchair Games - Check Out the New Trailer!

Posted by Sarah Woodward

Jul 3, 2013 10:50:00 AM

We're just bursting with excitement that the National Veterans Wheelchair Games are coming to Tampa in just 10 days! In anticipation, we've put together a little trailer to whet your appetites.

Check it out below!


Topics: wheelchair games, adaptive athletes, National Veterans Wheelchair Games

The Best Day of Our Lives!

Posted by Mens Liberty

Jun 25, 2013 9:25:00 AM

“I can’t run” said my husband Tom.

“Of course you can’t” I said…  “But listen to this list -

Archery, bowling, golf, cycling, track and field, ping pong, rowing, weight lifting, sailing, swimming, scuba, shooting, fishing, kayaking, billiards, basketball, softball, sled hockey, tennis, horsemanship, skiing, waterskiing, and kite boarding!”

That’s all the sporting events available on the Tampa Veterans Hospital Adaptive Sports website!  And this is the FIRST website I’ve been to!”

I watched Toms eyes…  Yes, they welled with tears, as just 3 days earlier, Tom had just discovered that his “legs” were now his brand new wheelchair.  But something else happened!  Something exciting!

Not just Tom, but I also discovered that he’s not alone, and there are activities for him to get involved in, to have friends, to have challenges, and most importantly – TO HAVE FUN!

And that was just the beginning…

While I supported and watched Tom begin his rehabilitation, I couldn’t absorb enough INFORMATION about groups and activities for people with disabilities.  I had no idea how many groups and how many locations and activities were out there!  Hundreds!!

The day Tom told me that ‘he couldn’t run’ is etched into my memory forever.  Because that day was the beginning of our new discovery and our new life, and frankly, while at the time, I was overwhelmed with sadness and despair, it was actually one of the best days of our lives!

It was a day of DISCOVERY!  And it was a day that changed our lives for the better!  And the results have been astounding and remarkable!

That was 3 years ago, and in that 3 years, Tom has participated in many different Adaptive Sports events and competitions, and in many different cities and states.  And so have I – as Tommy and I have both continued to develop tremendous lifelong friendships and relationships!  And perhaps even more important – RESOURCES!

What we’ve both discovered is how so many Adaptive Sports athletes and families love to share their resources, how to find them, and who to talk to!

So it’s our turn to share some of the best resources with you, as in the end of this, I’m going to tell you about our 2nd best day ever – all thanks to Men’s Liberty!

I may be mistaken, and I don’t want to offend anyone, but to me it seems that many Adaptive Sports athletes are veterans.  Tommy was, which is why I started with our local Veterans Association.

I always first recommend using the internet – specifically, Google.  Just do a few searches.  Here’s my 5 highest recommendations for search words and phrases:

    • Wheelchair activities
    • Wheelchair games
    • Adaptive sports
    • Wheelchair support groups
    • People with Disability support groups

There’s more than 20 million “results” for those 5 searches alone. 

So what about Associations and Organizations?  Before I give you my recommendations, these groups seem to be focused in 2 different areas.  First – education, protection and laws.  Housing laws, workplace and employment laws, etc.

And second (which has been our focus) – locations, events and activities for people with disabilities.

Here’s my 5 highest recommendations for those groups:

Of course, don’t forget to do searches and talk to people about organizations, groups, locations and events in your LOCAL area!  I promise – talk to one informed person, and he or she will lead you to 5 other informed people!  It grows and it’s exciting!

I promised to tell you about our 2nd best day ever.  Here it is:

It was the day we discovered Men’s Liberty!  And all the problems it IMMEDIATELY SOLVED!  We will forever thank all the wonderful people at Men’s Liberty (that’s a whole different article – lol)!!

As many of you already know, participation in any event requires planning and skill in the area of “bladder management”, including all the problems, infections, irritated skin, rashes, and everything else associated with it.

PROBLEM SOLVED as soon as Tommy began using Men’s Liberty.  We can’t thank you enough, and it’s been fun sharing this information with a fantastic group of people.

Thanks to all the people we’ve met along this path – our lives are so blessed and full as a result of what we thought was a tragedy!  And thanks to all the wonderful friends we have at Men’s Liberty!

Oh yeah…  one more thing.  Remember Tommy saying ‘I can’t run’?  You should see him “run” now!  Just like all his friends – he can’t stop running in his wheelchair!

Whitney Russell

Topics: wheelchair games, Caregiving, adaptive athletes, National Veterans Wheelchair Games, veterans, spinal cord injury

The Benefits of Volunteering

Posted by Mens Liberty

May 2, 2013 10:15:00 AM

At Men’s Liberty, we’re really looking forward to the Wheelchair Games!  They’ll be right here in Tampa Bay this summer on July 13-18th.  Everyone on our team is excited about all the different venues and sports that will be occurring, and many of them are volunteering their time to help out.

That made me start thinking about the benefits of volunteering…

Many organizations  have a seemingly endless stream of volunteers.  Now here’s some great news:  According to statistics, volunteerism is on the rise.

From 2010 to 2011, the number of volunteers reached its’ highest level in five years.  It increased to an all-time high of 64.3 million Americans volunteering through organizations!  This equates to 8 billion hours with an estimated economic value of $171 billion dollars’ worth.  That’s phenomenal!

Both civic and school volunteerism is up.  Just look at the response to Hurricane Sandy!  Many individuals came from all over the country in response to a natural disaster.  And they are still there with an increased commitment to solve the problems of that area, as well as connect with the residents.

Ask most anyone that volunteers – they’ll tell you that it creates a deep sense of satisfaction!  Think about it…  When you help someone, how does it make you feel?  Great, right?!  Same with volunteering – you benefit personally by incorporating service and making a difference in other people’s lives, throughout your communities and your country.

All types of individuals volunteer.  Parents are one of the largest groups to volunteer.  Many parents work tirelessly as volunteers in schools or with youth organizations.  This aids in the development of our young people and helps our youth succeed.  They work to  raise funds, mentor, tutor and teach our youth.

Another large group of volunteers do neighborhood projects, assisting their less-capable neighbors with projects they themselves can’t accomplish.  There best part of volunteering are the wonderful intangible benefits - an increase in pride, satisfaction and accomplishment.

Veterans are a very large source of volunteers in our country.  Their commitment to serve continues well beyond their service of duty.  According to “Volunteering in America”, an average of 26% of all veterans continue to volunteer in their communities.

So - are there any health benefits to volunteering?

The simple answer is yes!

The Corporation for National and Community Service examined this relationship.  Their review of health benefits showed that volunteers had lower mortality rates, greater functional ability, and lower rates of depression.

Among older volunteers, it’s reported that volunteering provides them with both a physical and social activity.  There seems to be a definite sense of purpose among this group.  Older individuals and most of their peers are facing changing social roles and potentially questioning their place in society.  Volunteering keeps them going.  And longitudinal studies show they have lower mortality rates and live longer.

So volunteerism can enhance the overall health of our population, as well as foster a culture of citizenship, service and responsibility in our world.

And if you’re in the Tampa Bay area this July, come on down and volunteer.  You know we’ll be there, and we’d love to meet you!  So come on down - you’ll make a difference - and feel great about it!

If not Tampa Bay, then ask yourself:  Where can I volunteer?  The payoff will be tremendous!


Volunteer at the  Wheelchair Games!

Topics: adaptive athletes, National Veterans Wheelchair Games, veterans

Skintastic! Slip, Slop, Slap, Slide & Seek for Safety!

Posted by Mens Liberty

Apr 22, 2013 4:14:00 PM

We are feeling Spring Fever in our offices and are ready to get outside at a moment’s notice.  Most of us can enjoy fresh air breaks throughout the day, with the exception of our outstanding Customer Care team, although if they could figure out a way to move all the phones outside I’m sure they would.

Most athletes that regularly compete in the sunshine have learned to make sure they have sunscreen in their athletic bags. Skin cancer is still a very big concern among men.   And - don’t forget to add coverage to the top of your head and ears, as this is the skin that’s commonly affected on men.      

Our skin covers and protects everything inside the body.   It helps keep our bodies at just the right temperature and it allows us to have the sense of touch.   Your nervous system responds and works closely with the messages it gets from your skin.

The skin is made up of three layers:

1st Layer:  Epidermis – the outside layer of the skin.   Your epidermis is constantly generating new skin cells.   Though you can’t see it happening, every minute of the day we lose about 30,000 – 40,000 dead skin cells off the surface of our skin!  That’s almost 9 pounds of cells every year!

2nd Layer:  Dermis – you can’t see your dermis because it’s hidden under your epidermis.   The dermis contains nerve endings, blood vessels, oil glands and sweat glands.   It also contains collagen and elastin, which are tough and stretchy.

3rd Layer:   Subcutaneous – this bottom layer is made mostly of fat and helps your body absorb shock and stay warm.   It also connects to all of the tissues underneath it.    

The nerve endings in your dermis work with your brain and nervous system.   Your brain gets the message about what you’re touching – is that the soft fur of a puppy or the rubbery surface of a tire, or the silky lotions of sunscreen?

The nerve endings work with your muscles to keep you from getting hurt.   If you touch something hot, the nerve endings in your dermis respond right away – “ouch, that’s hot!”  The nerves quickly send this message to the brain or spinal cord, which then immediately commands the muscles to take your hand away.   This all happens in a split second, without you ever thinking about it!   

But if your one of thousands of men who have a neuromuscular disorder such as spinal cord injury, dysfunction or traumatic brain injury, you may not have complete sensation from your skin, particulalry your lower extremeties. In that case, it is especially important to wear sunscreen and keep an eye on the color of your skin. Most sunburns don't look too bad until a few hours later so its easy to get burned without realizing it!

Your skin is one of the most amazing organs, as it sends and receives messages through your nervous system all the time!  It is also the largest organ, and often is taken for granted.

After all, we all like to have fun in the sun!  Unfortunately, the best way to avoid the increase in skin cancer is to stay out of the sun all together, and where’s the fun in that?

In Florida we get about 244 days of sunshine a year.   Colorado, 245 days.   Caribou, Maine a sad 159 days, but it’s possible to still receive skin cancer even without the sunny skies. 

Down under, Australians get about 300 days of sunlight in a year.   They came up with the following Slip, Slop, Slap, Slide & Seek campaign to protect their skin.   And it’s great advice worth repeating. 

Slip – on a shirt.   Long-sleeved shirts, especially with a SPF rating will help shield the UV rays.

Slop – on some sunscreen.   Re-apply waterproof SPF 30 every 2 hours for optimum coverage.

Slap – on a hat.   Make it wide-brimmed for maximum coverage to protect the ears and face.

Slide – on some sunglasses.   Make them UV-rated and large enough to cover the eyes.

Seek – out some shade.   When your shadow is shorter than you, seek some shade.   Stay under trees, umbrellas, or indoors during the hottest part of the day.


Fortunately, skin cancer does not need to become an epidemic with a little bit of sun-smarts! 

So what’s the largest organ of the body?  Your Skin!  Now make sure you protect it and always carry sunscreen, no matter what your activity is outside.   

And remember to stay hydrated, just like our previous blog posting cautioned, and – HAVE FUN!!


Topics: urinary management, adaptive athletes, spinal cord injury

Visit Men’s Liberty at the NWBA National Tournament!

Posted by Sarah Woodward

Apr 11, 2013 12:34:00 PM

Men’s Liberty is thrilled to be attending the upcoming Wheelchair Basketball Association National Competition in Louisville, Kentucky next week.

NWBA National Championship

Four days of exciting competitions kicks off on Thursday April 18th at the Kentucky Expo Center. With 86 teams and nearly 1,000 athletes competing, it’s definitely going to be an event to remember!

Next week’s events are run by the National Wheelchair Basketball Association (NWBA). The NWBA is comprised of over 200 basketball teams across twenty-two conferences and seven divisions. The NWBA was founded in 1948, and today consists of men's, women's, intercollegiate, and youth teams throughout the United States of America and Canada.

Competitions will be taking place Thursday-Sunday and tickets for the events are available to the public.  Tickets are expected to be $5 per day and $15 for the full tournament. We will be offering pre-sale fan packages for purchase for friends and family. All children ages 12 and under will be admitted free of charge. We encourage anyone in the area to come and check it out!

We’re thrilled to be getting involved in this great organization. And Men’s Liberty customer care reps will be available at both the Expo and Hoops Center to answer your questions about Men’s Liberty and how you can get the healthier option for managing urinary incontinence.

We look forward to seeing you all there!

And if any of you competitors are interested in winning a 32" HD TV, click below to Enter Our Adaptive Sports Photo Contest!

Enter Our Photo Contest!

Topics: wheelchair, adaptive athletes, spinal cord injury

How Much Water Should Adaptive Athletes be Drinking?

Posted by Sarah Woodward

Apr 9, 2013 3:00:00 PM

How to manage fluid intake and incontinence to get that competitive edge!

Staying hydrated is essential for everyone, but athletes have an even greater need to maintain proper hydration. And adaptive athletes are no exception. As any doctor can tell you, water is the most important nutrient for life and has many important functions including regulating temperature, lubricating joints and transporting nutrients and waste throughout the body.

Yet many adaptive athletes may restrict fluid intake due to incontinence or fear of having an accident. Avoiding dehydration is fundamental to competing safely. Too many adaptive athletes are walking a fine line with hydration habits and potentially doing more harm than good to their bodies.

The amount of water athletes lose varies due to sweat product, exercise duration and intensity, the room temperature and the altitude. High altitude and high temperatures can increase fluid loss.  What most people don’t know is that exercising in the cold can also present problems because the cold can impair your ability to recognize fluid loss and can increase fluid loss through respiration.

Studies have found that athletes who lose as little as two percent of their body weight through sweating have a drop in blood volume which makes the heart have to work harder to circulate blood. A drop in blood volume may also lead to muscle cramps, dizziness, fatigue and heat illness. In short, avoiding dehydration and its complications can give you a competitive edge against your peers and improve your overall bladder health. Two birds, one stone!

Hydration Needs for Athletes

Because there is wide variability in sweat rates etc., it is nearly impossible to provide specific recommendations or guidelines about the type or amount of fluid you should consume on or before game day. There are, however, two simple methods of estimating adequate hydration (provided by the American College of Sports Medicine):

  1. Monitoring urine volume output and color. A large amount of light colored, diluted urine probably means you are hydrated; dark colored, concentrated urine probably means you are dehydrated.
  2. Weigh yourself before and after exercise. This might be a challenge but if you can do this a few times then you can establish an average weight loss during exercise. Any weight lost is likely from fluid, so try to drink enough to replenish those losses. Any weight gain could mean you are drinking more than you need.

What about the Sports Drinks hype?

Contrary to the hype spouted in Gatorade commercials, sports drinks have limited value for most people. They can be helpful to athletes who are exercising at a high intensity for 60 minutes or more. Fluids supplying 60 to 100 calories per 8 ounces helps to supply the needed calories required for continuous performance. But it's not actually necessary to replace losses of sodium, potassium and other electrolytes during exercise. The exception is when you find yourself exercising in extreme conditions over 3 or 5 hours (a marathon, Ironman or ultra-marathon, for example) you may likely want to add a complex sports drink with electrolytes.

General Guidelines for Fluid Intake

As we’ve mentioned it not realistic to make specific fluid recommendations for all athletes however, most people can use the following guidelines as a starting point, and modify their fluid needs accordingly.

Hydration Before Exercise

  • Drink about 15-20 fl oz, 2-3 hours before exercise
  • Drink 8-10 fl oz 10-15 min before exercise

Hydration During Exercise

  • Drink 8-10 fl oz every 10-15 min during exercise
  • If exercising longer than 90 minutes, drink 8-10 fl oz of a sports drink (with no more than 8 percent carbohydrate) every 15 - 30 minutes.

Hydration After Exercise

  • Weigh yourself before and after exercise and replace fluid losses.
  • Drink 20-24 fl oz water for every 1 lb lost.
  • Consume a 4:1 ratio of carbohydrate to protein within the 2 hours after exercise to replenish glycogen stores.

Fluid Intake & Incontinence

So for those of you keeping track, you could end up drinking nearly 100 fluid ounces of water during a single sporting event. There’s no set percent that will be absorbed by your body, it all depends on how hydrated you are starting out – only your kidneys know the exact amount! As you drink fluids and they are absorbed into your bloodstream, the blood flows through the kidneys and is filtered. The kidneys balance the chemicals and amount of water in your bloodstream. So depending on your body's needs, some water will be turned into urine and some of it will be kept in your blood to maintain this balance.

This can leave quite a lot of urine in your bladder demanding release. Now think about the size of your bladder; its max capacity is about 16 ounces.  So urine management isn’t just a theoretical problem!

So what are your options?

There are a few options out there, but let’s be honest, most of them aren’t that great. In no particular order, you can use:

  • Diapers/Pads
  • Condom Catheters
  • Intermittent Catheterization
  • Permanent Foley catheterization


  • Men’s Liberty

The most important thing when it comes to managing incontinence is to be sure to check out the 3 C’s: Cost, Complications and Caregiving. Make sure whatever you choose is within your budget, low on complications and increases your independence.

I won’t harass you with all the details of every complication associated with many of these outdated methods here (however, if you are curious, I recommend checking out our blogs on the subject). However, there is a healthier option available for men. Men’s Liberty is an innovative hydrocolloid external catheter that seals securely to the skin for 24+ hours. It’s used by adaptive and able bodied athletes for fluid management during skiing, weight lifting, cycling, racing, shooting and many other sports. With an 8 ounce integral collection chamber and attachable 1000ml leg bag the Liberty is keeping adaptive athletes dry and comfortable from the locker room to the winner’s podium.


Get Started



  • Consensus Statement of the 1st International Exercise-Associated Hyponatremia Consensus Development Conference, Cape Town, South Africa 2005. Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine. 15(4):208-213, July 2005.
  • Exercise and Fluid Replacement, ACSM Position Stand, American College Of Sports Medicine, Medicine and Science In Sports & Exercise, 2007.
  • Institute of Medicine. Water. In: Dietary Reference Intakes for Water, Sodium, Cholride, Potassium and Sulfate, Washington, D.C: National Academy Press, pp. 73–185, 2005.


Topics: adaptive athletes

Paraplegic Athlete to Push Across America for Disability Awareness!

Posted by Sarah Woodward

Apr 6, 2013 11:19:00 AM

We’re excited to share this news from LA. Today is the kick off of the Push Across America by adaptive athlete Ryan Chalmers. We’re going to be following along and cheering on Ryan’s amazing journey and hope you’ll do the same!


Check out this interview with ABC News above!

Push Across America is an adventure and a journey. Ryan will push his racing chair from Los Angeles to New York City in the spring 2013.

Ryan’s motivation for Push Across America stems from his desire to encourage others to take on challenges and give back to individuals and organizations that have made a difference in their lives. That’s why he’s doing it. To touch people’s lives and give back to an organization that has changed his life. Ryan’s a great ambassador for persons of all ages as he’s a young man who exemplifies the messages he so honestly delivers: “Never Give Up! Always Do Your Best! Make A Difference!”

Ryan was born with Spina Bifida, an incomplete closure of his spinal column, which means he does not have complete use of his legs. He started playing sports when he was eight, eventually focusing on basketball and track. In college, he decided to focus on track, and in 2012 he realized his dream of being a member of Team USA at the Paralympic Games in London.

Ryan’s journey has not always gone smoothly. At the age of 13, he suffered a two-year setback from sports due to a pressure sore he developed following a surgery. Nonetheless, he reached deep inside himself and found the strength to push forward. He learned to SCUBA dive with Stay-Focused, a nonprofit organization that works with teens with physical disabilities. It changed his life. Ryan became the organization’s first mentor in 2007. Stay-Focused mentors assist first-time divers in all aspects of Stay-Focused’s programs, and represent the emerging leadership of the organization. In 2012, Ryan achieved yet another significant milestone in becoming a PADI-certified Divemaster, which represents the first level of professional certification.

Ryan will be pushing the equivalent of two to three marathons a day for 71 days.

He doesn’t know how his body will react to this punishing schedule or how the terrain and weather conditions will conspire to challenge him. What he does know is he’ll do it. He’s passionate, determined, and focused.

Ryan will leave Los Angeles on April 6th, and arrive in New York City on June 15th. He’ll be passing through 14 states and the District of Columbia. National and local media will be covering his journey and you will be able to follow his progress on this website, Facebook, and Twitter.

Orange Line

We’ll be following along with Ryan and sharing updates here on the Men’s Liberty blog. We’re looking forward to seeing this inspiring young man succeed!

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For more information on Ryan’s journey and how you can support him and the Stay Focused charity, visit them online at www.PushAcrossAmerica.org


Topics: wheelchair, adaptive athletes

New Guidelines to Enhance Adaptive Sports School Programs

Posted by Sarah Woodward

Mar 29, 2013 11:18:00 AM

We're a little late to the party, but wanted to share the news from the American Association of Adapted Sports Programs about exciting new guidelines on adapted sports programs in schools that will make it easier for disabled children to get involved in these life changing programs.

The new guidance was issued by the US Dept of Education's Office of Civil Rights (OCR).  The guidelines clarify  schools'  responsibilities under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act  to provide  athletic opportunities for students with disabilities. Below are excerpts of their info on the new guidelines, for the complete article, click here.


"Each person and group who has worked  within  this sports movement can take heart that their work has not gone unnoticed and that with this new guidance we can further advance our  vital work of making sure all kids who want to take part in school   sports will have an opportunity to do so," said Beverly Vaughn, AAASP Cofounder and Executive Director.

The guidance followed a 2010 study from  the  Government Accountability Office. GAO found that students with   disabilities receive fewer opportunities for physical activity and   sports participation than students without disabilities. The GAO called   on the Department of Education to provide resources to assist states  and  schools in addressing this disparity of services and also asked  that  clarification of schools' responsibilities be provided regarding   athletic opportunities for students under Section 504 of the   Rehabilitation Act.

Advocates invoke Title IX

The Inclusive Fitness Coalition, comprised of  over 200 groups around the nation, including AAASP, has  called OCR's  guidance a landmark moment in opening the doors to  students with  disabilities in much the same way as Title IX has done  for women. "It  sends a loud message to educational institutions that  students with  disabilities must be provided opportunities for physical  activity and  sports equal to those afforded to students without  disabilities,"  according to AAASP Board member, Terri Lakowski, CEO of Active Policy Solutions in Washington, DC and former policy director for  the Women's  Sports Foundation. Lakowski has championed efforts for equal  physical  activity and sports opportunities for women, girls and  students with  disabilities for over ten years.


Researchers with Healthy People 2011  indicated  that since activity levels in adulthood are usually lower  than during  childhood, sport and physical activity patterns established during  childhood form the foundation for lifelong physical activity  and  subsequent health and contribute to an overall quality of life.

AAASP Team PhotoStudies considered by OCR in issuing  their  guidance also establish that children with physical disabilities  have  greater activity barriers. They are often not encouraged to lead  active  lives and in fact this failure tends to lead to sedentary lives with  greater health problems that may be avoidable.

Commenting on OCR's announcement, Tommie  Storms,  AAASP's Cofounder and Director of Operations noted that, "From  its  founding nearly 16 years ago, when our model was integrated into  10  school districts in less than three months time. AAASP has utilized   every tool at its disposal to develop and implement policy, systems,   adapted rules and training opportunities that have led to lasting   sustainability and reasonable costs."

Vaughn added, "We would also be remise not to acknowledge those who comprise our member schools and high school associations and nearly two decades of input, review and recognition for our collective efforts by many of the nations' best minds in this area of sport and physical development. This news could not come at a better time for these administrators, teachers, coaches and coordinators who've dedicated themselves to the success of these students."

Parents  whose children take part in  these  programs have reported that it has been nothing short of a life  changing  experience for their child.

The other top benefits identified by parents whose children participate include:

  • The opportunity to play sports that the kids would otherwise never have
  • Noted reductions over previous  years in  secondary health complications resulting from sedentary  habits.
  • The ability to work hard, participate in a group, set goals, & excel in sports
  • Increased motivation to get good grades, improvement in academics
  • Active engagement and friendship with other students, mentors, & coaches

Congrats to everyone who was involved in this effort. We're thrilled to see growing support for the adapted athletes of tomorrow. We've been absolutely inspired by the impact of sports on children and adults after a spinal cord injury, and they're not alone.

To view the complete guidelines, click here: Read Guidelines


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Topics: wheelchair games, adaptive athletes, spinal cord injury