Loom Knitting for Independence

Category: Recreation

IKAN Bowler

Are you sitting at home in your wheelchair and bored out of your mind? Do you have a hankering to have some fun? Well then…let’s go bowling!

Bowling? Where’s the fun in that? As wheelchair users, you’ve likely seen those ramps at the bowling alley that your friends place in front of the lane so you can roll up to it to push the ball off the ramp. Not terribly interactive or exciting. What if you’re a quadriplegic who can’t even push the ball off the ramp? While you might enjoy the time out with your friends, wouldn’t you rather participate in the whole experience?

Well if you can drive a power wheelchair, then you can bowl using an IKAN Bowler! Guess what? You might even bowl better than your friends! I received an IKAN Bowler as a Christmas gift in 2009 and have enjoyed bowling with both my disabled and able-bodied friends ever since.

According to their website, this is how it works:

This revolutionary system allows the bowler to control the speed, direction, and timing of the bowling ball’s release. Wheelchair movement and the unique parabolic bowling arm generate the energy to propel the ball down the lane. Braking the wheelchair sends the ball in the direction the bowler wants.

Sounds technical, but it really isn’t. You just need to attach the bowler to your wheelchair, have someone place the bowling ball at the top of the ramp, and then go for it! You are in control of the ball and how well you bowl from this point forward. You have to decide how fast you make your approach, the angle of the shot, and when the ball starts rolling down the ramp. But be prepared, because you can feel the excitement of getting a strike, but you can also feel the let down of a split or a gutter ball.

Now I am going to warn you that there will be those able-bodied who say you have some sort of advantage over them. This usually happens when you’re winning and they’re losing. However, it simply isn’t true. It is no easy task making precise movements with a power wheelchair. One last minute twitch of the driving controller on your wheelchair or turn of the wrist for an able-bodied bowler and that ball is definitely not going where you wanted it to! In fact, it is so equal to an able-bodied bowler that it is approved for competition with and/or against able-bodied bowlers or IKAN users by the United States Bowling Congress (USBC).

This video shows co-inventor of the IKAN bowler, Bill Miller, demonstating how he bowls with the IKAN.