A STUDENT from Breadstone will be the first tetraplegic in the world to take part in a gruelling type of event, navigating the course on a special wheelchair he controls with his chin.

Rob Camm, 21, was left paralysed from the neck down after a car crash two years ago and is now reliant on a ventilator.

He is set to tackle a 12-mile Tough Mudder, dubbed ‘probably the toughest event on the planet’ by organisers, alongside a team of friends and family members in Cirencester on Sunday, 23 August.

They are raising money for SpecialEffect, a charity which has provided technology to help him adjust to life following the accident.

He will tackle the course using his Extreme X8 wheelchair which can reach speeds of 10km per hour and has been used to tow a 4x4 car and clear branches.

Rob said: “I wanted to do a Tough Mudder before the accident and still want to do it now. I’ve got a wheelchair that’s capable of doing it, so I though why not?

“It’s a wheelchair set on top of a quad bike and I’ve not found anything that can stop it yet.”

Almost £3,000 has been raised for the charity already, and Rob hopes his fundraising efforts will in turn help the charity to provide technology to even more disabled people.

It was while in Frenchay Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit for 96 days, staring at the ceiling, that SpecialEffect was able to offer Rob some hope in the form of an eye gaze computer. It’s controlled by blinking and eye movement and enabled him to reconnect with the world and do things for himself.

Rob, a keen rugby player who had just returned from a year abroad, was a passenger in a car that crashed in September 2013, just a week before he was due to start studying at York University.

Determined to live his life to the full, he decided to continue his studies closer to home at the University of Bristol where he’s just passed his first year with a 2.1.

Rob added: “I’m enjoying my studies a lot. The University itself has been fantastic and my lecturers have been really supportive. It’s good getting my life back to some extent.”

Rob was able to walk a few weeks ago thanks to an electronic robotic exoskeleton which was being trialled at the Robotics Science and Systems Conference in Rome.

The wearable robot, called Rex, uses 79 electrodes attached to his skull which read signals in his brain and converts them to movement.

Rob said: “We got in touch with the developers initially as we thought the robot could help with physiotherapy as it’s good for my body to keep moving in a natural way.

“It’s now developed into this amazing skeleton which I can control with my mind.

“To see my toes and my feet move forwards was pretty incredible. For the past two years I haven't seen that really so it's very unusual and it's quite enjoyable to see your body moving in that way. I’ve said I’m happy to be their test pilot so we will see what happens in the future.”

To sponsor Rob and his teammates visit: https://www.justgiving.com/Rob-Camm

You can read more about Rob’s story and follow his progress on his Cammpaign4rob blog.