Concept2 is excited to share resources for adaptive athletes and feature the experiences of athletes who use our products. Todd's story is the first of our series of blog posts focusing on adaptive athletes.
Todd Vogt fell in love with the sport of rowing as a college freshman at the University of Buffalo in 1992. He was able to make rowing his career and became a rowing coach while continuing to row competitively himself. “I love the physical and mental challenge of the sport,” Vogt explains. But in June of 2018, when Vogt was diagnosed with early onset Parkinson’s disease at the age of 43, he was crushed. “I thought my athletic life was over,” he recalled.
For many adaptive athletes like Vogt, Concept2 provides options for adaptive athletes to find (or rediscover) sport and fitness. The indoor rower can be modified to accommodate many disabilities, making the sport very accessible—and also competitive.
Six months after his diagnosis, Vogt started seriously training again on his rowing machine. He contacted the USRowing Paralympic High Performance Director, Ellen Mizner, in Boston, who helped him complete the qualifications to be classified as a para-rower and attend a training camp for the Paralympic National Team.
Vogt still had two sizable obstacles to overcome in order to make the team: he needed to find a way to regain technical ability and build endurance. "I used to pride myself on my ability to push myself extremely hard in workouts almost to the point of passing out, but now it’s much harder to get myself to that point,” Vogt recounts, noting that his left side doesn’t respond as quickly as it once did often leaving him feeling uncoordinated and slow on that entire side. Still, Vogt persisted and he found that working out with other people and using the tool of a heart rate monitor helped make sure he trained hard enough.
Vogt also found that using the BikeErg helped build his endurance. “With my Parkinson’s, it can be difficult to sit on the rowing machine for long sessions like I used to do,” he explained. “The BikeErg is great as it’s easy on my body and has the same monitor as the rowing machine, which allows me to do similar workouts.”
In August, Vogt represented the US at the 2019 World Rowing Championships in the PR3 Men’s Pair with his partner, Andy Wigren. “It was amazing winning the trial. I've never been on a national team before and was ecstatic,” Vogt recalls. Vogt will be training hard this year to earn a spot on the US Paralympic Team that will compete in Tokyo next summer.
Concept2 supports the USRowing Senior and Paralympic Teams as they prepare for 2020. We’re excited to cheer on Todd, his partner Andy, and the rest of the athletes who represent the United States. Follow Todd’s competitive rowing journey for more updates.
Editor's Note: Cynthia Caldwell contributed to this article. Thank you!