By: Leandre Casselman
The Back Tip
To catch yourself mid-fall, twist quickly to one side and extend your arm closest to the side you’re twisting to, in order to catch your fall. Make sure to not lock your elbow. At the same time, your other arm should cross over in front of you and grab the opposite push rim. This prevents the chair from rolling away, and also conserves some body strength. Next, use your arm to pull the wheel towards you while pushing the ground with the arm you used to catch your fall. (You are now wheeling the chair under you at the same time you are pushing yourself upright.) It may be necessary to shimmy your hand on the ground towards you to get more height. Be sure to practice with a spotter the first few times. This move takes some guts – especially when you hurl yourself backwards!
Modification – The Back Fall
Oops! You didn’t exactly catch yourself, and now you’re completely on the ground, on your back, in the chair. It’s not impossible to get back up, but it does require a little more strength. Grab the front of your chair and pull yourself forward enough to lock one of your brakes. Then, on the unlocked side of the chair, grab the front frame with the arm that is on the locked side of the chair and pull your upper body up. As you pull yourself up, free the opposite arm under the shoulder in preparation to push up. Grab the unlocked wheel as high up as you can with the arm that was previously grabbing the front frame. Now, push the ground with one arm as you pull the push rim on that same side with the opposite arm in unison. (You are now wheeling the chair under you at the same time you are pushing yourself upright.) If you need to, stop and take a rest once you’ve got your weight supported on your arm that is touching the ground.