Levers bring new force to wheelchair users

ROSEVILLE, CA – A Roseville man, paralyzed 26 years ago, is on a mission to make it easier for other people bound to wheelchairs to get around.

Since a life changing accident in 1987, Brian Watwood has been perfecting the Wijit, a mechanical lever and braking system that can be retrofitted onto manual wheelchairs and help people get around.

“The average person has no idea how difficult a life it is to live in a wheelchair where you can’t do things everybody else takes for granted,” Watwood said.

Watwood was 30 when he was hit by a car while riding a bike. He suffered a devastating spinal cord injury to his neck. The crash left him a partial quadriplegic and unable to push the wheels of standard wheelchairs.

“In my frustration I closed my eyes,” Watwood said. “And I had a vision of levers.”

Watwood teamed up with engineers and came up with the Wijit. But then, in the late 90s, he faced a major setback when the construction of the wheelchair drastically changed.

“It was a pretty stark reality,” Watwood explained. “The realization that, suddenly, what I was doing was a dead end.”

But he never gave up. He went back to the drawing board. Since the redesign, several hundred Wijits have sold.

See the whole article and video at News10 or check out the Wijit homepage.