10-16-2014 Sportsheets International Founder Tom Stewart Designing Specialized Products For Wounded Veterans

For over 20 years the words “Keeping Couples Connected” have been the Mantra for Sportsheets International, an industry leader fantasy play and lifestyle products.

The multi-award winning company was founded in 1993 by Tom Stewart, who at the time was in his 10th year as a Military Helicopter Pilot. Stewart flew for two branches of the military including flying the CH-46 Sea Knight for the United States Marine Corps and the H-60 Sea Hawk for the United States Navy Reserves. He spent 20 years in the military including 6 years active duty and 14 years in the reserves. During his active duty he was stationed at Marine Corps Air Station Tustin, Orange County, California and did a Western Pacific deployment (Thailand, Korea, Singapore, The Philippines, and Australia) aboard Helicopter Assault Ship, USS Tripoli. Tom officially retired from the US Navy in 2005 at the rank of Commander.

For the past 4 years, Tom has been working with the Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes Road to Recovery which is the largest event of its kind. The conference brings severely wounded troops and their families from all across the U.S. together to encourage hope, healing and to start on the Road to Recovery.

Studies have shown that Soldiers coming home from war that are suffering from PTSD often end up facing other challenges including sex and intimacy problems. Enter Sportsheets, a company that has excelled for the last 22 years in Keeping Couples Connected®. The company, which now employs over 40 people started with just one product, the Velcro® Bed Sheet also known as the original “Sportsheet”. Since then, the company has grown to a catalog of over 400 different fantasy and lifestyle products and broken the mold taking what was once considered the most taboo corner of the sexual market and bringing it to mainstream America.

During this year’s conference which was held October 5th – 8th in San Diego, Tom reemphasized that he and his product development team at Sportsheets are designing and developing custom adaptive slings intended to help veterans who have come home from war as a quadriplegic or paraplegic re-experience intimacy with their partner. The slings allow the man to hang almost in a superman fashion over the woman so they can have sex in the missionary position which studies and polls have shown to be the most intimate of sex positions. Tom showed photos of custom Vests, and Leg Harnesses that when attached to a central hoist such as a Hoyer Lift, allow the man to move more freely. Other products that Sportsheets produces can be adapted for the Vet’s unique needs and go beyond Paraplegics and Quadriplegics including people with Spinal Column Issues, Nerve Damage, Back Injuries, and other war time injuries.

“I was originally invited to my first Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes Road to Recovery Conference, five years ago,” claimed Tom Stewart, Founder of Sportsheets International. “I brought with me samples of some of the sex toys we make that disabled people can use to help with achieving positions that are difficult to get into or maintain. Several of the items were very popular with the disabled vets and their spouses. Specifically with the “wheelers” (vets in wheelchairs). One of the issues that came up for quadriplegics and paraplegics who were able to have intercourse with their partner, was that the young men longed to be able to have sex on top of their wives in the missionary position. Equally the woman (spouse) missed having her husband on top of her and putting her arms and wrapping them around his back. It wasn’t just sex, it was the reconnection, the intimacy that they were not able to achieve, since the injury. One wife told me that she could have intercourse with her husband but only with her on top. And while this was satisfying to a point, as a young couple they both enjoyed the man on top missionary position. Ever since the injury this has not been an option. As a hopeful solution, we designed a sling that allows a quadriplegic or a paraplegic to hover over his spouse in a Superman flying position and have intercourse in the missionary position. Just like with the thigh harness, it was the intimacy and the connection that this sling facilitated. Dealing with an injured spouse is stressful enough. When it comes to the effect it has on their sex lives it can be devastating for a couple. To get a small piece of their former sex life back is a huge gain for these couples that had thought that they would never be able to have intercourse or be in an intimate position like the missionary position again.

“Our family has always been proud of Tom for his long military career,” claimed Julie Stewart, Tom’s sister and now President of Sportsheets. “It is one thing for a company to just write a check to support a charity but we knew with our experience and expertise, we could truly help Tom in designing a product that made a difference for our Veterans that are returning home. Our mission statement has always been Keeping Couples Connected® and now we are doing that for the most important people of all; our wounded soldiers.

For information on Sportsheets, please visit their official website.

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For information or to support the Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes, visit their website.