Today we are thrilled to announce the launch of our newest innovation, ActionSleeve Armband for Apple Watch. As development on ActionSleeve continued, we found a wide variety of athletes who admitted that tracking their fitness goals was imperative to their training regime but that wearing their tracker on the wrist wasn’t always ideal. With the popularity of sports like kickboxing, weightlifting and CrossFit training, where your workout requires protective gear or full wrist mobility, you need to remove your Watch and thus lose out on all the important tracking data.
As we started to plan the campaign shoot, it was important to us that we worked with real athletes. While searching for local talent, we came to the realization that ActionSleeve offered a solution for an entirely different group of fitness enthusiasts – it was then that we met an incredibly inspiring young man named Cameron Massengale. Massengale is a Senior at The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina, a member of the elite Summerall Guards, a fiercely competitive athlete and an amputee. After completing his knob (freshman) year, he was working at home in Greenville, SC where an accident on the job caused him to lose the lower half of his right arm. “My initial reaction was that everything I had worked for was gone,” Massengale said, “but then one day I woke up and realized that’s not the kind of person that I am – I am very stubborn and this was not going to be the thing that stopped or defined me.”
After taking a semester to heal, and thanks to countless phone calls and texts from his fellow cadets pushing him to return, he was back to school and back to work. “I knew that I couldn’t let my friends down. We had all worked so hard that first year and we are a team. When there were doubts, I knew they had my back, and as soon as I was back into a more normal routine things started to fall into place. I still had a lot to re-learn, but having friends to ‘remind’ me about what I had set out to do pushed me forward.”
Now, a little over two years later, Massengale has met or exceeded many of the goals that he originally set for himself. “My freshman year I promised my senior advisor that I was going to join the Summerall Guards and I wasn’t about to let him down.” In order to compete for one of the coveted 61 spots, he completed 15 training days focused on physical fitness and drills. With a lot of practice, training for hours a day, everyday, and a modification to the length of his drill prosthetic, he was chosen as a member of the Guards being the first ever amputee member to be selected for the precision drill platoon.
His training regimen hasn’t lightened up much either. On top of the traditional military training exercises he takes part in, Massengale continues to push his physical fitness goals. “Right now I’m focused on strength training with traditional barbell and dumbbell lifts 5-6 days for and hour and a half each day, plus training runs twice a week for at least 2 miles. After the accident I lost a lot of muscle mass which was really difficult for me. The doctors told me that the most important thing was to balance my training to prevent over-use injuries. By being reliant on my left side it was a strong possibility that my right side would continue to atrophy so I’ve been really focused on making sure that my training is tailored to prevent long term issues.” In addition to an intense regime, Massengale pays special attention to his equipment including a variety of prosthetics that allow him to perform specific tasks. When we asked him what he thought of the new ActionSleeve he was really excited to incorporate it into his routine. “Right now I carry my phone in my hand when I run which is a huge inconvenience when you only have one. The biggest concern is that if I take a fall during training I am either going to drop my phone or take a hard hit – by moving my fitness tracker to my bicep I feel a lot more comfortable and more natural in my running stance.”
Not only is he an inspiration to his fellow classmates and Citadel leaders, but Massengale has become a mentor at Camp No Limits in Newry, Maine, which provides a unique experience offering parent and child peer support, adapted recreational activities and state of the art prosthetic education. With programs designed by specialized occupational and physical therapists, prosthetists, and adult amputees, children get the opportunity to be amongst others who experience the challenges they face everyday. “Working with the kids has taught me more than I ever thought possible – they push themselves and each other to achieve things that seem impossible. One summer we had a lower limb amputee who was determined to learn to ride a bike. He practiced every single day, and no matter how many times he fell he got back up and powered on, and by the end of the summer he was riding around camp. He had such a drive to figure it out, and when he did it was such an amazing moment for him. It was then that I knew that giving up is not an option and that I would never be willing to let these kids down.”
After working with Massengale on our photo shoot it was clear just what kind of person he is and why he’s an inspiration to so many. His determination and drive to succeed is balanced by his upbeat and kind nature. It was an absolute pleasure to work with him and we look forward to following him on his many post graduation adventures.