Aurora -- With a $2,000 grant from the Aurora Schools Foundation's board of trustees, Harmon School has a new-to-the-market game table called Racket Power for use by all students.
Health Recreational Resources market director Rob Wagner describes Racket Power as "an air hockey game on steroids." He contributed greatly to the game table's unique design.
"This project has proved to me that [Racket Power] is something kids will definitely be drawn to," Wagner said. "It has a lot of different benefits in different aspects, and that's what we [HRR] stand behind."
Wagner said he believes Racket Power helps with obesity, and learning and behavioral disorders in children. It is a full-body workout, and the game especially has been observed to help children with learning disabilities, Wagner said.
The school district's occupational therapist Alisa Deininger, also Wagner's business partner, said Racket Power is an out-of-the-box solution in helping disabled students socialize and interact with other students.
"It's not specifically for the disabled, but I kind of went that route because I am struggling as a therapist to find things that are appropriate," she said. "You have some special olympics, but in Aurora it's kind of limited in what these kids can participate in.
"I just kind of realized the kids that I see really don't have a chance to socialize as much with the typical kids. This is a way for them to be able to play on the same level as a typical kid."
She noted David Stafford of DSE Consulting and Craftsmanship LLC in Aurora built the table.
Here's how the game works.
THE TABLE is in the shape of a rectangle with handles that swivel on either end. Two players on either end control the handles that manipulate paddles on the inside of the table. The paddles are used to hit a puck back and forth in hopes of hitting it past the other player into the goal. Racket Power's table is portable and can fit anywhere a ping pong table can.
The game has made its way into various boys and girls clubs throughout the nation, and is expanding to more locations. Wagner said the game is generally for all ages, and he has watched people between 5 and 82 years old play.
Wagner said the table was a success with children at the Chicago Boys and Girls Club. He said the Cleveland, Akron and Youngstown boys and girls clubs are interested in the product.
Deininger said another Racket Power table will be installed in Aurora High School in the fall, and she said a small table might be designed for smaller children.
There are currently three Racket Power tables being used, but Wagner said after five years of development, the company is ready to go into production and make millions. Deininger said Racket Power is built with all local products except for any plastics used.
"Our goal is, when we go into production, that kids with disibilities will help package and assemble the parts and things like that," Deininger said.
The partners also have a project on Rockethub and is seeking donations through the site to help increase production capability in hopes of providing more Boys and Girls Clubs with Racket Power. Donate at http://www.rockethub.com/projects/39760-innovative-new-table-game-with-many-health-benefits.
Phone: 330-541-9400 ext. 4162