Maria is a sports reporter for RPVtv Channel 33 in Southern California. Her show, "Playing the Field" also airs online at www.PlayingTheFieldTV.com. Growing up in Los Angeles, California, Maria wanted to become an actress. In her quest to become an actress, she found herself taking on many jobs to increase her exposure, such as beauty pageants where she was the first person using a wheelchair to compete in Miss California. She had appearances in shows such as General Hospital and the Joan Rivers Show. Another role Maria took on was as a fitness trainer. This led to her becoming a Cybex fitness spokesperson in the late 90s. While at Cybex, she was asked to interview a professional athlete and he was hooked on sports reporting. In 1999, she hosted a show called "NFL on COX" with former Raider linebacker Jerry Robinson.
Many assume that Maria is covering sports stories related to athletes with disabilities, however that is not the case: she reports on professional and non-professional sports and athletes. Maria has found interesting and creative ways to adapt to the challenges of using a wheelchair during her sports reporting and interviews with able-bodied athletes. She has always felt that she is not "in" a wheelchair, she is a person who "uses" a wheelchair. "Wheelchairs are other people's challenge, not mine!"
When Maria was a young child, she was in a car accident that resulted in multiple fractures and an incomplete paralysis. She lost sensation below her waist and had only some active movement of her legs. She can recall receiving her first Everest and Jennings wheelchair from Rancho Los Amigos Rehab Hospital, and physical therapy at Craig Hospital in Denver, Colorado where she learned to ambulate using braces.
While in her 20s, she was introduced to the Los Angeles QUICKIE representative who recommended Maria use a QUICKIE 2 wheelchair. She has been a loyal QUICKIE 2 user ever since. Maria maintains her wheelchair herself, primarily replacing the tires a couple of times a year. She admits she is hard on her tires because of the terrain and fields she must navigate across to conduct interviews. Her current QUICKIE 2 has been a reliable wheelchair for her for the past 10 years.
Reason for Seeking a New Wheelchair
It's been 10 years! It was finally showing the signs of everyday wear and tear.
Maria met with a local seating therapist (Kathy SanMartino, PT, ATP) and rehab technology supplier (Rich Morales, ATP/SMS of Mobility Solutions) who did an extensive intake and mat evaluation. Maria presented with a minimal pelvic obliquity which might be attributed to her tendency to sit with her leg crossed over the other. Her goals for her wheelchair included improved access to standing athletes during interviews and keeping it lightweight so she can get it into her car. She prefers minimal seating so she can orient herself to her interviewee and audience; she does not have a history of pressure injuries. Maria drives from the seat of the car, so she likes to fold the wheelchair and place it in the back seat while keeping the wheels on.
After ruling out a rigid chair based on Maria's experience and requests, they decided to stay in the QUICKIE family by recommending QUICKIE 2 Lite with Spinergy SPOX wheels, two degrees of camber, compact wheel locks, and a slightly higher seat-to-floor height. From the seating perspective, a firm cushion (JAY X2) to raise her higher when interviewing/reporting was recommended. She was also prescribed a lower profile cushion to use when not working. It was decided a tension-adjustable back would provide her with appropriate support while meeting Maria's goal of allowing her to easily fold and load the wheelchair in her car independently.
Her wheelchair was delivered by the therapist and complex rehabilitation technology professional. Minor adjustments were made to the wheelchair at the time of delivery to finalize the fitting. Maria was happy with the outcome of the wheelchair upon completion.
At the time this case story was being written, Maria reported that she was waiting for the restrictions on larger gatherings due to the COVID-19 pandemic to be lifted so she can get back out there and start interviewing professional athletes again. She believes that the additional height will be a game-changer when interviewing tall athletes. The minimally contoured cushion allows her to move within her chair and take postures such as crossing her legs during reporting. She is due for her follow-up to ensure that the wheelchair is meeting all her needs and continues to be configured properly. Areas that will be addressed include wheel camber and frame angle, as she feels she is too low in the rear of the wheelchair.
Maria is looking forward to using her new QUICKIE 2 during her sports reporting. Since moving to a QUICKIE wheelchair in her 20s, she has never used a competitor's wheelchair. Brand loyalty is very important to her. She likes that changes have been made with each QUICKIE 2 wheelchair that she has owned, yet each wheelchair maintains enough of the QUICKIE 2 design to make her comfortable. When Maria was asked why she stays with QUICKIE, she responded, "They are always willing to listen to you and always willing to work with you!"