August 12, 2015

Community Resource: Guide Running

Photo: Guide Running with a Tether at the 2015 DOD Warrior Games
Photo Credit: Tim Hipps via
Visually impaired Spc. Anthony Atemon (right) of Decatur, Ala., wins his division of the 100 meters in 13.42 seconds at the 2015 Department of Defense Warrior Games track competition at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va. Paralympic hopeful Sgt. Ryan McIntosh (center) of the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program is guide-running for Atemon. Cpl. Matthew Mueller (left) of Fort Morgan, Colo., finishes second in 13.45 seconds.

If you are a runner, or would like to be, and have a visual impairment you may find that running with a guide enhances your comfort and safety while participating in the sport.  There are several common ways this is done, depending on your personal preferences, for example with guidance provided by using a running 'Tether'.
In the 'Tether' method the runner and guide use a tether, typically a rope or strap about 30 inches long, to provide information to the runner with vision impairment.  With this technique, the guide runs slightly ahead of the runner and to one side and each partner holds one end of the tether. The guide gives verbal directions, but the runner is also able to detect bends in the road and other slight changes in direction much more easily with the tether.
WBRC recently became aware of, an online resource that matches up runners with visual impairments with guides.  United in Stride was founded in 2015 by the Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (MABVI) as a tool to unite runners who are blind or visually impaired with running guides across North America.  Users [both runners and guides] can create free accounts, search for runners/guides in their geographical areas, and learn more about running with visual impairment.  Since it's launch in 2015 over 575 runners and guides have created accounts.  

CLICK HERE to visit

CLICK HERE for Tips for Runners with Visual Impairments through AFB 

CLICK HERE to read the Full article on the 2015 Department of Defense Warrior Games

August 3, 2015

August Construction Update

Photo: Aerial photograph of Palo Alto campus with B-500 circled in yellow

WBRC continues to watch the construction progress of B-500, the highly anticipated new home of the Polytruama and Blind Rehabilitation services on the Palo Alto VAPAHCS Campus.  Some of the building's features will include private bedrooms and bathrooms for inpatients, 3 large shared courtyards, a ‘green’ living roof, a greenhouse, and solar panels on the roof.
Photo: Aerial photograph of B-500 facing the front entrance
At 174,000 square feet, this new facility is the largest consolidated rehabilitation center in the VA and will include 24 beds for the polytruama program, 32 beds for the blind rehabilitation program, and 12 beds for the polytruama transitional rehabilitation program. The center will also have an outpatient physical therapy/occupational therapy clinic, an outpatient physical medicine and rehabilitation clinic, and clinical programs for Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom Veterans.

Image: Rendering of the finished B-500 front entrance
Construction is anticipated to complete in Summer of 2015 with the building becoming operational in Winter of 2015.