Simple wheelchair attachment makes life easier

Simple wheelchair attachment makes life easier

April 2, 2021 Off By Hawkeye Johnson

Adaptive Equipment Profile of The FreeWheel

Pat Dougherty with his wheelchair attachment, the FreeWheel. (Courtesy photo.)

People who use wheelchairs often struggle in off pavement conditions such as gravel, sand, grass and broken sidewalk and cracks. The Freewheel attachment provides greater maneuverability, safety and ease when negotiating these conditions.

The FreeWheel makes the wheelchair into a three wheeled all terrain vehicle. It becomes the 5th wheel that lifts the two front caster wheels off the ground by attaching to the wheelchair footrest. This single wheel in front gives the chair greater clearance and roll for maneuvering in nature as well as urban settings.

Patrick Dougherty invented the FreeWheel, out of necessity, ten years ago. After a motorcycle accident in 2003 left him paralyzed and a quadriplegic, his greatest fear was not being able to keep up with his children. So, this engineer turned to his shop and created the FreeWheel. This wheelchair attachment is helping countless users including some GoHawkeye athletes.

Sallah using his FreeWheel in gravel. (Courtesy photo.)

2018 GoHawkeye grant recipient, Sallah Mohamed said, “I’m an engineering student so I love to work on things and customize them to my liking. My favorite part about the FreeWheel is that it’s so adjustable, you can make it fit the way you want instead of a one size fits all ordeal. The other thing I love is that it allows me to be a little more carefree when I go on strolls. I don’t have to worry about tripping over a crack or a rock, this is also great for when kids want to ride on my chair. The FreeWheel makes things safe and more enjoyable for all parties which is amazing.”

Colten Pojeta with the FreeWheel attached to his wheelchair. (Courtesy photo.)

For Colten Pojeta, age 9 and 2019 grant recipient, the FreeWheel has increased his confidence and independence.

His mom Kate wrote, “This summer, our boys spent some time going to a nearby park and the FreeWheel allowed the older two to take Colten with them because he could more easily traverse neighborhood sidewalks and crossing the road. He didn’t have to push as hard, so he lasted longer distances before needing help. It was the first time he was allowed to hang out with the “big kids” without mom or dad around!”

The FreeWheel attachment makes life in a wheelchair easier, safer and more enjoyable. This device which is simple to attach, adjustable, and retails for $650. For more information visit