Off-Road Wheelchair Pioneer and Designer to Speak April 2

John Davis, off-road wheelchair racing champion and pioneer, and John Castelano, his wheelchair designer, will speak at Duke University's Pratt School of Engineering on Monday, April 2.

The talk begins at 4:00 p.m. in the Nello L. Teer Building, room 203, and is free and open to the public. Parking is available in the parking garage next to the Bryan Center.

Davis is expected to discuss his experience as an outdoors enthusiast—an avid surfer and mountain biker—who suffered a spinal cord injury as a result of a car accident.

Undaunted, Davis later enlisted Castelano, a designer of high-end bicycles, to create a wheelchair suitable for off-road racing. He took the off-road wheelchair to the National Off-Road Bicycle Association mountain bike races and raced as the only competitor in a wheelchair.

"Off-road wheelchair racing didn't exist," Davis has said. "But after I was injured, I remembered things I used to love--getting outdoors, getting the wind in my face and dirt flying up at me. So I pioneered something that didn't exist, and it brought me back into sports."

Davis went on to become an off-road wheelchair racing champion. He is also an accomplished skier and two-time Paralympic gold medalist in giant slalom and downhill.

Davis and Castelano will be joined by Carol Harnett, who works on disabilities issues for The Hartford, an investment and insurance company. The event was organized through the senior biomedical engineering design course, BME260: Devices for People with Disabilities.