Help Fund Local Project to Aid Wheelchair Athletes

An Alameda native is trying to raise money and awareness of a new invention intended to help wheelchair-bound youth enjoy physical activities.

Alamedan Melissa Abadia is an adapted physical education specialist at San Leandro High School, working with students with physical disabilities. After noticing how difficult it was for some of her wheelchair-bound students to participate in games such as soccer, she set out looking for a tool that would alleviate their difficulties. Her search for a solution proved to be a dead end, so she decided to come up with one herself.

Abadia, with the help of local engineers, invented the Kicker Helper. The Kicker Helper is a tool that can replicate a kicking motion. The bar attaches to a wheelchair handle and has a small pole that reaches inches above the ground. It pulls back and quickly moves forward to provide force to a ball, similar to kicking a soccer ball.

The large target surface guarantees success of making contact with the ball. The Kicker Helper can be used in all seasons, indoors or outdoors. It is user friendly so that any teacher or staff can quickly affix it to any wheelchair due to the universal design.

"I created the Kicker Helper because I wanted all of my students to be able to participate at a higher level in PE class and at recess time," wrote Abadia on the invention indigogo page. "This impact can have lasting result ranging from their mood for the day to how they feel about themselves and their ability to learn."

Abadia would like to provide every student in her school district who needs one, a Kicker Helper. The students will have daily access to the Kicker Helper for PE, recess and field trips. To do that she needs help from the public. Abadia set up an Indiegogo page, and is seeking $12,000 in donations. Her deadline is Sept. 21. Those who make a $25 donation will be acknowledged on the invention’s thank you wall. Those who make a $50 donation will receive a Kicker Helper T-shirt.

To learn more about the Kicker Helper or to donate, visit https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/kicker-helper-wheelchair-sports-equipment#/story.