IKAN User Testimonials

The Magnitude of the IKAN Bowler®

Lift-equipped vans and power wheelchairs enable the most physically limited people in our society to go places, but we’re most often spectators once we arrive. The IKAN Bowler® changes that – in a HUGE WAY.

Take me, for example. I am a C1-2 quadriplegic who requires mechanical ventilation. I cannot move or even feel anything below my neck and I can’t breathe well enough on my own to do without a ventilator – but I KAN Bowl better than many people who are completely able-bodied. When I’m bowling regularly, about once a week, my average is about 160 a game, and I’ve bowled four games over 200 (three 201s and a 202). If and/or when bowling with the IKAN Bowler® becomes a Paralympic event, I’ll practice frequently in hopes of qualifying to represent The United States of America, and of course, I’d be shooting for Gold. This is the magnitude of the IKAN Bowler®.

To even think and then actually realize that someone as physically limited as I am, can compete in true sporting fashion with able-bodied people in a sanctioned sport, something as FUN as bowling… it’s just a phenomenal, uplifting, and empowering improvement for society. And it’s felt by the IKAN Bowler® users, our competitors, our family and friends, the patrons and employees in bowling alleys where we bowl, and by people who read articles and watch news stories about our bowling achievements. This is the magnitude of the IKAN Bowler®.

What it means to the IKAN Bowler® user…

I’ve got something I can physically do! There’s really nothing else I can do physically, virtually by myself, besides drive my power wheelchair and run a computer using voice software (which is how I’m writing this letter). I’ve seen first-time IKAN Bowler® users cry tears of joy from the experience. I’ve seen friends & family members who are overcome with emotion from watching their loved one physically do something fun – for themselves – for the first time in years. I’ve seen astonished looks and dropped jaws from league bowlers who simply can’t believe some of the impressive bowling shots we can make (I’ve converted a 6-7-10 split four times:). I’ve heard numerous times from able-bodied onlookers “you bowl better than I do.” Where else can society’s most physically limited – physically do something better than able-bodied people? This is the magnitude of the IKAN Bowler®.

What it means to Bowling Centers…

We often draw crowds when we bowl. One evening, a league had just finished when I started bowling (practice). My caddy said “bowl well, you’ve got a LARGE audience watching you.” Many of them stuck around to watch me bowl for a while. We bring caregivers, family members and friends in, who often bowl with us, and other patrons often stick around to watch us bowl. Not only is it a feel-good occasion, but people get hungry and purchase concessions! More lanes are filled, more people sit at tables (eat/drink) and watch – this is increased revenue for bowling centers… this is the magnitude of the IKAN Bowler®.

There are thousands and thousands of power wheelchair-using spectators, a group that is excluded from participating in just about everything. Many prefer to stay home. Getting these people out and empowering them with an activity that allows other people to see them in a positive light, and to provide positive social interaction… this is the magnitude of the IKAN Bowler®!

Bill Miller
Leesburg, FL U.S.A.
IKAN Bowler® User (202 High Game)
Spinal Cord Injury

“I was always the athletic type and took part in every sport I could fit into my schedule. In 1993, life as I knew it ended in an instant. While on vacation in Mexico, I dove into the ocean and hit my face on an unexpected sandbar. The impact broke the fifth vertebrae in my neck, and I was told that I would be a quadriplegic for the remainder of my life.

Time did not heal all wounds in my case, and it actually proved to be just the opposite. The longer I sat around, the more I missed my ability to be physically active. I tried different sports during my rehabilitation, but nothing felt competitive. Arm aerobics was just about the only thing I could manage, which was really only movement for therapeutic purposes. That’s great, but I wasn’t a geriatric patient and I wanted a thrill! I was only 23 years old, and the motor in my life’s engine was just getting revved up!

In 2002, I once again became an athlete and began competing in a true sport – Bowling! Some friends of mine designed a bowling apparatus which attaches to the front of a wheelchair. From the moment I launched my first ball with the Ikan Bowler®, until today, I cannot put into words how it feels to be able to bowl again. Not only does it allow me to bowl; it allows me to bowl well! My high score to date is 181!

One of the great features about the bowler is that I can bowl against my able-bodied husband, or my quad cohorts. If I choose to, I can join a league and bowl anywhere in the U.S., and will still be required to follow the same rules as everyone else, walking or wheeling. I am still eligible to win tournaments and accolades, and have no advantages or disadvantages over anyone. The Ikan Bowler® creates an even, level playing field.

When I became paralyzed, I never imagined that I would be able to participate in a sport again. The Ikan Bowler® has opened up a new world of possibilities not only to me, but my entire family. I recently gave birth to a very active little boy, and I cannot wait until he is old enough to join me on the lanes. This is one sport that I will never have to sit back and watch again! Have wheels – let’s roll and bowl!”

Michelle Carston
Winter Garden, FL U.S.A.

“It’s been hard finding something my whole family can share with me. Now, we can all enjoy bowling together. It’s a dream come true.”

Jennifer Harman
Altamonte Springs, FL U.S.A.
IKAN User and Quad Squad Member
Recipient of a Rotary Club of the Villages donated IKAN Bowler®
Spinal Cord Injury

“My name is Jon Musgrave, and I am a C4-5 quadriplegic. I was injured in a motorcycle accident on April 19, 1991, when I was hit by a truck that ran a stop sign. I was very much into sports and competing before my accident, so it was hard for me to have to sit by and watch other people do things I used to take for granted. If not for my wife and son I cannot begin to tell you where I would be now.

I had tried bowling several times after the accident but ended up throwing some pricey bowlers away. They didn’t really work well, and I felt more like a pusher than a real bowler . So when I got the IKAN Bowler® for Christmas 2005, I was kind of apprehensive. But the very first time I put it on in my house and tried it out in the hallway and watched the ball hook after it left the ramp–I knew this one was different from all the rest. I could not wait to go to the lanes. We went a couple of days later, and it took me about 9 frames to get the hang of it. I had to figure out which way to place the ball to get the best action and how to drive up to the line just right, but in the 10th frame I rolled my first strike in over 15 years. My first score was only around 70, but it felt great. I wanted to bowl every chance I got. My scores improved as I learned more about placement of the ball and where to drive. I remember how happy I was when I got a 144 and beat my able-bodied friend. Then I heard that the high score for IKAN Bowlers® was a 20l. I had just bowled a 203. I was so excited. I had a high score, and I was competing at something again. I was determined to keep improving , and I did. I went from a 203 to a 209, a 214, and most recently a 215, in just 6 months.

I have a goal, and that is to be the first person using the IKAN Bowler® to roll a 300 game. Now that it is summer, my son and I go bowling every weekday. It is great to hear comments behind me when I am bowling like “How does he do that” or “He’s better than I am”. Who would have thought that one thing could change a person’s life so much. I have something that I’m good at to look forward to enjoying every day, something I can share with my family and friends. I can tell you this for sure, my life has not been the same since I got my IKAN Bowler®.”

Jon Musgrave
Grand Junction, CO U.S.A.
Overall IKAN Bowler® Record Holder (243 High Game)
Spinal Cord Injury

“I have been confined to a wheelchair for over twenty years because of a disease called Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. For those of you not familiar with the disease it gradually weakens the skeletal and voluntary muscles, those in the arms, legs, trunk and eventually the heart. There are over forty different forms of Muscular Dystrophy. I’m ventilator dependant at night and for about five hours during the day.

In the past I’ve used those metal ramps available in most bowling centers but the IKAN Bowler® is far superior and much more accurate. It puts the bowler in complete control.

I’ve been using the IKAN Bowler® for about two years and recently purchased the much improved bowling system. The new bowler is very easy to use and attaches to most wheelchairs with little effort after the initial set-up.

I didn’t realize the magnitude of the IKAN Bowler® until I used it for the first time. The first time I used the IKAN Bowler® I scored 80. The second time I scored 120 and the fourth time I got my all time high score of 168. Being very limited in arm strength, I am limited to what I can do. This device has the ability to empower countless people with a variety of physical limitations. The IKAN Bowler® is an absolute blast, the most fun I’ve had in a long time.”

Jeff Parker
Lady Lake, FL U.S.A.
Muscular Dystrophy

“My name is Mike Murach. I graduated from the University of Eau Claire, Wisconsin in 1992 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism. I now live, with my wife and two dogs, in Elk Mound, Wisconsin. For the last fourteen years I’ve been a digital artist (www.MurGallery.com).

Twelve credits before graduating from college my life changed dramatically. While performing in a diving exhibition as a member of the U.S. High Dive Team, I fell and bruised my spinal cord. This nickel sized bruise left me with complete C-3/4 quadriplegia (paralysis from the neck down). After almost a year in three different hospitals, I went back to college to finish my degree. After I graduated I commenced to build a new life, this time paralyzed from the neck down.

Since I was a professional athlete before my accident, I had a difficult time adjusting to a sedentary life after paralysis. I still felt the need to be involved in athletics. So I tried a few different things to feel active once again. I coached diving for a summer, went sky diving, mono-skiing in Colorado, boating with some college friends, etc. I soon realized that these pursuits still didn’t satisfy my competitive nature. Although I had fun, I was still merely just “along for the ride”. I wasn’t an ACTIVE participant. It wasn’t until trying the IKAN Bowler® that I felt ACTIVE as well as competitive. I, my wife, and friends have bowled about a dozen times now and we are all having a great time. For the first time since 1990, I feel my athletic, competitive needs being met. ”

Mike Murach
Elk Mound, WI U.S.A.
Spinal Cord Injury

This “interview” is with Melissa Sino, a Quad Squad member who has cerebral palsy. The Quad Squad is a nickname for a group of Central Florida power wheelchair users who, for various reasons, have disabilities with varying degrees of quadriplegia (quadriplegia broadly meaning impairment in the ability to use one’s arms and legs). The Quad Squad generally gets together twice a month for bowling. Each member uses an IKAN Bowler®; the first adaptive bowling device ever approved for league play by the United States Bowling Congress. Friend and fellow Quad Squad member Bill Miller, a ventilator-dependent quadriplegic that resulted from a spinal cord injury, is asking the questions. On a side note, Melissa recently graduated from High School. Her parents are Leonore and Jeff Sino.

Melissa, I understand you’re traveling and away from your computer, which would allow you to answer these yourself, instead Mom is going to transcribe your answers. I know giving long answers using your communication device can be a little tedious, so I thank you in advance for your answers (which don’t have to be real lengthy:). OK, Melissa, as a person with cerebral palsy, what is something you would like people to know about cerebral palsy, or about having CP?

I have Cerebral Palsy. I cannot walk or talk, but, I’m smart. I understand everything you say to me. I use this Pathfinder computer to communicate. Please be patient as I navigate this device as I compose my thoughts.

Will you (or Mom) please describe the type of cerebral palsy you have, and how it affects you?

Leonore (a.k.a. Melissa’s Mom): Cerebral Palsy (CP) runs the gamut from paraplegic to quadriplegic, from hi-tone to low tone to mixed tone, from verbal to non-verbal, from cognitively disabled to cognitively able, and any combinations. For Melissa, her CP manifests as: quadriplegic, mixed tone, non-verbal and cognitively able. Typically, someone with her intense physical involvement is usually also cognitively involved (often significantly), which is not the case for Melissa. Therefore, my challenge is to be able to provide Melissa with as many real-life experiences as possible, in spite of her physical limitations. The IKAN Bowler® is an awesome device that enables Melissa real-life bowling experiences, both with and without people with disabilities!

Will you please tell us about bowling with an IKAN Bowler®, what it means to you?

Melissa: I am good at bowling. It’s different. It’s fun.

I know you drive your wheelchair using head controls. The controls don’t seem to let you finely adjust your aim (very easily) as you approach the foul line, whereas other Quad Squad bowlers, like me, can adjust left and right a little more easily. This means you sometimes can’t get the ball where you want it to go. Is that frustrating for you?


cont: Or are you happy to bowl anyway, even though you may not score quite as high? (For the record, Melissa does well when her chair is in good working condition, but sometimes the drive controls get out of whack. Melissa has the top IKAN Bowler® score for a person with Cerebral Palsy, and for someone using head controls, a high game of 120.)

Melissa: Yes Leonore: Presently, the real wheelchair challenge is that Melissa is using a very “tired” powered wheelchair that needs a new left motor, a new seating system and a better head array. For example, the wheelchair keeps pulling to the left as she drives so she has to not only aim to bowl, but, also compensate for the pulling to the left. Quite the challenge!!! We are in the process of submitting for a new powered wheelchair. The right motor has just been replaced since it totally died, so now getting the insurance to also replace the left one will jeopardize getting a new wheelchair. Therefore, “we’ve” been putting up with the worn out left motor. Melissa is more than a trouper with hanging in there trying to drive/bowl while trying to adjust her wheelchair’s pulling to the left. Once she has a new chair, new seating system and new head array, watch out, you guys will be getting some competition! 🙂

With regard to bowling with an IKAN Bowler®, what would you like to say to other people with Cerebral Palsy, who might require wheelchairs that drive with head controls?

Melissa: It’s a system I’m bowling with and it’s helped me. I like it because it’s neat.

Melissa, is there anything you’d like to add?

I have fun when I get a strike!

Mom, is there anything you or Dad would like to add?

Leonore: we are thrilled that Melissa owns the IKAN Bowler®. She not only is able to bowl against other individuals with disabilities, she is also able to go bowling with non-disabled friends and relatives. Independence and control are critical for her life experiences and the IKAN Bowler® does exactly that for Melissa. THANK YOU!!!

Melissa Sino
Kissimmee, FL U.S.A.
Cerebral Palsy

“I have been involved with and using the IKAN Bowler® since the beginning of its creation and development. I am a C-4/5 complete quadriplegic unable to move from the neck down. My injury level took me out of participating in sports and forced me to sit on the sidelines as a spectator. I had always been active in sports so that was hard to accept … until the IKAN Bowler® was born!

The first time using it at a bowling alley surrounded by able-bodied bowlers, I was elated! I felt a new sense of belonging and independence that I hadn’t been able to feel since the onset of my paralysis. I knew that moment that bowling with the IKAN Bowler® had changed my life and would definitely change many others lives in the future!

I bowl usually atleast once a month, sometimes more if my caregiver and personal schedule permits. Although, there are times due to circumstances beyond my control that I go for many months without bowling at all. Recently I hadn’t bowled in over six months, returning to the lanes with a personal best score of 148. Thinking I may not bowl as well as when I am able to bowl more frequently, I actually increased my personal best to 149 that day. Two months later I broke my personal best score again, this time by three points, bringing my high score to date as of June 28, 2006 to 152. To me that is a huge accomplishment! I am always just as elated as I was the first time ever bowling with the IKAN Bowler® every time I bowl with it!

This device can change the way some disabled persons get back into sports and the game of life. I highly recommend it!

Thank you for creating such an AMAZING device. It has enhanced my confidence and quality of life! It will truly enhance the lives of many people.”

Rhonda Reese
Fruitland Park, FL U.S.A.
Spinal Cord Injury