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The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and UPMC will lead a study of how to use the Internet to teach people who have spinal cord injuries how to use their wheelchairs better.
The study will be funded by a $4.5 million grant from the National Institute for Disability and Rehabilitation Research. It will be the largest study of its kind, with more than 500 participants at four locations, over a five-year period.
Spinal cord researchers affiliated with universities and hospitals in Illinois, New Jersey and Florida also will take part.
The grant was made in response to recent cutbacks in insurance coverage that have reduced the time people with spinal cord injuries spend in the hospital, said Michael Boninger, chair of the department of physical medicine and rehabilitation at Pitt's School of Medicine.
"Because they spend less time in the hospital after their injuries, they never learn how to effectively use and maintain their wheelchairs," Dr. Boninger said. "We need an effective, low-cost way to provide people with training that maximizes their independence -- this study tackles that problem."
An earlier six-month study headed by Dr. Boninger found that 52 percent of people with spinal cord injuries required repairs to their wheelchairs, chiefly because of improper use.
The Chuck Scally Memorial Open for golfers with disabilities will be held this year on Aug. 13 at the Fox Run Golf Course in Beaver Falls.
This is the 20th year for the tournament, which is named for Chuck Scally Sr., who in 1989 sponsored at his family's facility in Moon a learn-to-play golf clinic for people with disabilities, including those who've had spinal cord injuries or strokes, suffer from cerebral palsy, or had an arm or leg amputated.
In 1993, Mr. Scally persuaded his friend, Max Mesing, owner of Fox Run, to host the first "Physically Challenged Open" at his golf course. The tournament was renamed after Mr. Scally died in 1996.
The open this year will start at 11 a.m., and conclude with a banquet beginning around 4 p.m. The registration fee of $50 includes greens fees, a shared golf cart, a commemorative golf shirt, a box lunch and the awards banquet.
Trophies will be given to the top three teams, and to the individuals for closest to the pin, longest putt and longest drive. For more information, or to register, call Three Rivers Adaptive Sports at 412-848-8896.
It took him 15 hours and 55 minutes, but on July 10 Darren Miller of Delmont became the third American to swim the Tsugaru Channel between the islands of Honshu and Hokkaido in Japan.
The 12-mile swim in turbulent and chilly 60-degree water was "by far the most difficult" swim of the five he has completed so far in his quest to be the first American, and the second person ever, to complete the Ocean's Seven Challenge, Mr. Miller said.
California swim coach Steven Munatones concocted the "Ocean's Seven" in 2008 as the swimmers' counterpart to the "Seven Summits" -- the seven highest mountains on each continent -- for mountain climbers.
Mr. Miller has now swum the English Channel; the Catalina Channel off the California coast; the Molokai Channel between Molokai and Oahu in Hawaii; the Strait of Gibraltar between Spain and Morocco, and the Tsugaru Channel. He plans to tackle the Cook Strait between the North and South islands of New Zealand next March. That would leave arguably the most difficult, the North Channel between Scotland and Ireland.
When he swam the Tsugaru Channel earlier this month, Irishman Stephen Redmond became the first person to complete the Ocean's Seven.
Mr. Miller swims in part to raise money for the Forever Fund, a charity he co-founded which aids families with the costs associated with infant cardiothoracic surgery at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC.
-- Jack Kelly, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
First Published July 31, 2012 12:00 am