Rocking a concert at Red Rocks

Is a concert at Red Rocks amphitheatre on your bucket list?

If not, maybe it should be… Red Rocks is an iconic concert venue in the foothills near Denver. With incredible views of the city and a massive natural red rock landscape, Red Rocks is famous for its star-studded concert roster, natural acoustics and incredible ambience. 

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Helpful information to get you ready to attend a concert at Red Rocks 

The amphitheatre was completed in 1941 (well before any accessibility legislation) so navigating the venue, let alone a crowded concert there, has its challenges. Limited options exist for ticketed seating. The front row (1) and the last row (70) are the only areas reserved for accessible seating. When purchasing a ticket in those rows, you must verify that you need accessible seating. Note: A federal judge recently approved a set of rules to ensure that people who require accessible seating will soon get access to the first four rows of seats during Red Rocks shows.

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There are a few designated places for parking with an appropriate placard. If your seats are at the top (back) of the venue, there is a small lot designated as accessible parking a few hours before the show. A walkway leads to the top landing where your seats are located. If you have a first row ticket, park in the Upper South lot and take an accessible shuttle that will drop you off near your seats. 

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Beth Requist recently attended a show at Red Rocks and shared some of her experiences with us. 

What is one thing Red Rocks could do better at in order to make attending a concert easier? 

They should have some folding chairs available if people in your group would like to sit next to you. There is only a built in bench, so if you are in a chair, you are basically sitting in front of your friends….but if your friends like to dance like mine, they just stood next to me and it was totally fine. 

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What was one thing you were impressed by?

If you are seated in the front row, you have a server to bring you drinks and food!

What concert did you see? 

I saw Odesza this summer — I try to go to one show a year. 

You sat in the front row, which seems more difficult to access.. did you encounter any challenges? 

The parking is super easy, with plenty of spots, and a driver waiting to take you to the top whenever you are ready. It was just a short push to the front row, pretty easy and smooth. 

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What is one piece of advice you would give to someone using a wheelchair about attending a Red Rocks concert for the first time?

Don’t try to be a hero and push all the way from the bottom. It is far too steep. Park in the upper south lot and take the shuttle. 

Also, if there is a show you know you want to see, make sure you are on your computer right when tickets go on sale to snag the front row. Even do pre-sale if you can. Unfortunately, anyone can purchase row 1 and if you wait, the prices skyrocket. They are getting better at regulating this, but it’s not perfect yet. 

Beth wrote a blog post of her own outlining her experiences at Red Rocks. Make sure to take a look before planning your Red Rocks concert!

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Besides a concert… other things to see and do at Red Rocks

You can also go to Red Rocks when there is not a concert going on. Admission is free to visit Red Rocks Park, Amphitheatre, Visitor Center, Trading Post and the Colorado Music Hall of Fame. The park offers hiking and biking trails and the amphitheatre is often used by yoga enthusiasts, stair-runners, and those just looking for a spectacular view. Hours vary seasonally. Check out this article for some ideas.

The visitor center at the top of the venue has a wealth of information and photographic history. Shop for some memorabilia to commemorate your visit at the Trading Post, where you can also see the Colorado Music Hall of Fame. The on-site Ship Rock Grille is a wonderful place to spend an afternoon taking in the views accompanied by great food. The outdoor patio overlooks the foothills and red boulders. If you are hoping to have a meal prior to a show, a reservation is necessary.

Please add any of your own Red Rocks stories / accessibility tips by leaving a comment below.

ER Physician back on the job

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After a bike accident left Dr. Daniel Grossman paralyzed, he returned to work six months later with a renewed perspective on how he interacts with his patients at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Watch the coverage from NBC Nightly News here.

“When I say, ‘I know your life is about to change or is changing today,’ they look at me and they know that I know what I’m talking about, and it’s pretty emotional.”

Another article offers more detail about his journey, including photos and a video demonstration of Grossman’s transferring technique.

The Mayo Clinic has also published his story from their viewpoint…

He was returning to Mayo Clinic not as a physician, but as a patient. He recognized that accepting this new role would be essential to his recovery — both for himself and those caring for him. So he insisted that his care team call him Daniel, not Dr. Grossman, to emphasize that when it came to his recovery, they were the experts

How interesting. He seems like one determined guy… and we were pleased to see him using the Java Cushion and Back.

“There’s no question that this accident will have a long-term impact on my ability to be a better physician,” he says. “It’s made me more empathetic and compassionate and made me much more aware of my patients’ needs.”

Report from the Warrior Games

By guest blogger David Greig of TVH Mobility

The 2018 Department of Defense Warrior Games was recently held at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

The Games involved:

  • 300 wounded, ill and injured service members and veterans
  • Nine sports (Track & Field, Archery, Shooting, Sitting Volleyball, Wheelchair Basketball, Cycling, Swimming, Powerlifting, Indoor Rowing)
  • Five US military Branches (Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines, Special Operations)
  • Three international countries (Australia, Canada, United Kingdom)

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”The Warrior Games were established in 2010 as a way to enhance the recovery and rehabilitation of wounded, ill and injured service members and expose them to adaptive sports. The Games encourage them to stay physically active when they return to their local communities, and inspire and promote opportunities for growth and achievement.”

This was my third year acting as the Competition Manager for the Track & Field competition at the Warrior Games. In this role, I rely on my 19 years of experience coaching athletes with disabilities and hosting events to help coordinate as close to a Paralympic-style competition for the athletes as possible. This includes full production values, announcers, big screens and this year, even having a parachute team delivering the flag to the venue before the start of competition.

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Coordinating all of the technical elements is truly a team effort and I was able to work with many of the best Paralympic Track & Field minds in the country to help pull off an amazing athlete experience. For that is what this event is about, the athletes.

It has become a critical point of focus for the service members and veterans who have encountered a life altering situation, which has redefined their existence. But the impact does not stop there. It has impacted all who surround them, their families, social networks and the chain of command within which they operate.

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I have been blessed in the skill set, experiences and network that I have developed. I see delivering a seamless competition, run as professionally as possible as the least that I can do to support everyone who sees so much value in this great event. It is a distinct honor.

Photo credits: Warrior Games Facebook page

Stay cool with cushions designed to help alleviate heat and moisture

Heat and moisture, combined with the stresses of prolonged sitting, can contribute to pressure injuries.

Cushions designed around immersion technologies (think air or gel-filled) are intended to conform completely to boney areas, thus sealing off the pelvis from significant air flow. This can cause the skin to be warmer, damp, and clammy. Moist skin is not healthy skin.

In contrast, Ride’s cushion designs take an altogether different approach: holding the high-risk areas up and away from the surface of the cushion, creating space for air to flow between the skin and the cushion. These patented, skin-friendly interface designs make all the difference in helping to manage heat and moisture.

All Ride cushions help keep the sitter dry and comfortable in virtually any climate
through the use of exceptional design and materials…

Spacer mesh fabric:

All Ride cushion cover designs incorporate spacer mesh fabric (below left). Even under significant load, the spacer fabric does not compress, thus allowing air to move between the sitter and the cushion. The unique architecture of the fabric is apparent below right in this cutaway, close-up view of the fibers that create space for air to flow through the fabric.

Vented cushion designs maximizes air flow:

• The Java Cushion has a ventilation channel on the underside of the cushion
so air can flow freely between the cushion and the person sitting on it. Below is a cutaway view of the cushion so you can see how air can flow into the contoured spaces from the rear of the cushion and into the ventilation channel from the front. Even the cushion’s well area has been perforated to enhance air flow — see overhead view, below right.

• An optional Ventilation Channel is available for the Ride Custom 2 Cushion. In keeping with the custom product, the channel is specifically located for each shape, at the position of best opportunity for air flow. See airflow diagram below.

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Anytime of year, and especially with the summer months quickly approaching, consider these Ride cushion options to help those who use wheelchairs to sit as comfortably and safely as possible. (Not to mention seating stability…)

We have the evidence! To read university-level studies supporting the efficacy of Ride Cushions, click here.

Ride On: National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic

We caught up with Joe Bieganek (orthotist and Ride Designs president) to discuss his experiences at the National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic, held in Snowmass Village, Colorado during the first week in April. This annual event provides a fun and safe way for Veterans with disabilities to explore many different adaptive sports and activities. It’s also a great opportunity for veterans to come together, relax and enjoy the company of friends. To immerse yourself in what this event is like, check out this powerful video about what the Winter Sports Clinic means to the Veterans that participate.

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How long have you been participating in the Winter Sports Clinic?
This year was my 15th year volunteering at the event. The event itself has been going on for over 30 years.

Why is this event so important to you?
The whole event is about getting disabled Veterans out into activities and sport activities. And it’s important to me because these are men and women who have been injured one way or another while serving the country and it is just an incredible way for us to give back to our Veterans, to be there and to help them.

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How do you help?
I’m part of a group of professionals that come together yearly to staff the Prosthetics and Seating team, led by Kendra Betz, DPT. We apply the same science, and provide the same technology, that we use in our everyday seating practices to help the veterans at the event be as active as possible. Our goal is to help keep their skin safe and help maintain good posture so that they can have a great experience on the hill, or in a hockey sled, Nordic skiing, or in whatever event they are doing.

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Has there been an exceptionally memorable moment?
There are so many, but there is one that jumps out. We’ve worked with a Veteran with a double hip disartic over the last four to five years to simply get him sitting again. He had both legs when I first started working with him and then over a series of events, skin issues and health, he lost both of his legs. He just wanted to ski again with his family.

So over the past few years, he’s visited our Aspen Seating Clinic in Denver. Going through fittings and working with him has been very challenging. We have to design seating to keep him in his monoski, without legs, which is very difficult.

This year when we showed up to at the Winter Sports Clinic, he wasn’t on the list to work with. So everyone started calling him, trying to find out what was going on. When we finally reached him, he said “I’m good, I’ve skied 20 times this year, I am ready to go!” Now that’s really cool!

What sort of changes do you see in Veterans over the course of the week?
You might expect the energy to go down as the event goes on, but at the Winter Sports Clinic it is the exact opposite. People seem to get more fired up as the week comes to a close. It is such a great freedom from everyday life to be out on the hill — and there are such great coaches and teams. The whole event gives the Veterans an atmosphere in which to relax — like a winter camp. And camaraderie — we have a lot of repeat people that come back year after year. It’s an event that many Veterans look forward to throughout the year.

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What events do you assist with?
Typically, the organizers make sure we shift around a lot so volunteers get many different experiences. There is a focus on education — learning about sports, good positioning and seating so VA employees can take the knowledge back to their hospitals. The experiences help volunteers become more knowledgeable about working with Veterans both in everyday seating and sport interfacing.

We move around between events such as Nordic skiing, Alpine Skiing, Sled Hockey, and Snowmobiling. There are so many different activities to participate in, even scuba diving, but I mostly help with the ones that involve sitting. This year we also rebuilt a snowmobile backrest for Veterans with high injury level and SCI snowmobile riders. Snowmobiling has been an event for quite a while, but not everyone can participate due to safety. Our goal is to have the event available to more people in the future.

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The National Disabled Veterans Summer Sports Clinic will take place September 16-21 in San Diego, California. Click here (and scroll down) for a links to all Veteran Affairs Events. Information on volunteering at the Winter Sports Clinic is here.

Note: Photos watermarked Thin Air Images, LLC are courtesy of Joel Bach.