Joseph Cornelius has cerebral palsy and cannot walk or talk. Cal poly students in engineering and kinesiology invented the Aquabullet, a flotation device that will allow the 20-year-old from Los Osos to race alongside 1,000 individuals and teams on July 27 in the San Luis Obispo Triathlon — the largest pool triathlon in the world.
The adapted aquatic flotation device, students have named the Aquabullet It allows Joseph — who competes with his dad, John, as Team Joseph — to experience the race in the water from the same perspective as other swimmers. This adaptive technology could create new opportunities for other athletes with disabilities by encouraging them to participate in adapted physical activity events.
Joseph will swim competitively for the first time with the help of the invention.
Joseph Cornelius is an inspiration to his team members.
His father, John Cornelius said "He teaches us everyday how to face life."
Cornelius said, "It’s not fair that he can't do the things he wants to do, and that's where we come in."
Michael Lara, sports manager for the Special Olympics San Luis Obispo region, said "For Special Olympics it opens up new doors."
Lara said the flotation device is a first of its kind, "There is not enough adaptive equipment [for the Special Olympics] we're always open to new ideas."
Team Joseph includes a dedicated crew who will swim beside Joseph during the triathlon.