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The US Team Trials for Disabled Table Tennis were held this past week in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Standing Disabled National Champion credits elk velvet with helping him to win his spot on the team that will represent the United States at the 2000 Paralympics in Sydney, Australia next October.

"I take elk velvet daily to keep my joints limber and to fight inflammation. It also helps with muscle pain and gives me extra energy," says Joshua Bartel. "It has been a long week and I overdid it a bit. There were some mornings this week when I could hardly move. Extra velvet and lots of stretching helped a lot. Of course, dedication and the will to win help also."

Joshua Bartel contracted systemic JRA (Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis) when he was 12. Affecting literally every joint in his body, he went quickly from being the star of his soccer team to fighting a daily battle against pain, swelling, and joint deformity. Then, an auto accident on his 15th birthday left him in traction for 9 weeks with broken bones in both arms and both legs and further hampered his mobility and agility. Joshua's routine became daily swimming, paraffin baths, lots of drugs for pain and inflammation, and weekly checks of his blood to make certain that the drugs weren't poisoning him.

Joshua discovered elk velvet while at college. He soon threw away all of other medication and became a strong advocate for the powers of velvet. He recommends that anyone with joint inflammation and pain should give it a try.

Congratulations, Joshua, and good luck in Sydney!

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