I am a C7/T1 incomplete spinal cord injury, who has lost the ability to sweat due to my injury. I am also an adaptive sports athlete who has heavily participated in numerous sports in the 13 years I have been injured. Losing the ability to sweat has negatively affected my performance while playing sports. I feel like I can compete at a high level, but only for a limited amount of time. After a short amount of time, my body becomes extremely overheated because I cannot sweat at all to help regulate my body temperature. The only thing I had ever done to help this was during time outs or breaks in the action, I would pour cold water on myself. This helped some but after several minutes I was right back where I started and feeling like I was overheating again. This usually ended in me being soaking wet by the end of a game and after the final whistle sounded I still felt like I was about to collapse from heat exhaustion. I would usually have to take a 20-30 minute cold shower after a game or practice just to get my body temperature back down to normal (sometimes it would rise to the 103-104 degrees Fahrenheit range, that’s scary!).
I participated in a wheelchair Rugby tournament over the weekend and used the UnderCool vest in every game. I played 4 games in a 2 day period and I was amazed at how I felt after each game. Don’t get me wrong, I was still tired after each game, but that feeling of overheating and heat exhaustion wasn’t there. The UnderCool vest really did help regulate my body tempurature. I took my tempurature after each game and it was 98-99 range not over 100 degrees like prior to using the vest. I wasn’t soaking wet because I didn’t need to constantly pour water all over me to cool me and I didn’t have to take any cold showers which I was pleased about as well. I cannot to use this vest more in games and while training (I especially look forward to training outside on hot days this summer, which is something I previously avoided at all costs)