Chris Deguzman’s “Arm Ball” was first sold in 2008. It is a catch-and-throw game similar to the Pinoy favorite, Jai-Alai. The Jai-Alai uses the cesta, a long wicker basket tied to one arm, to catch and throw the ball.
Deguzman designed and fabricated the arm ball scoops made out of lighter plastic materials compared to Jai-Alai’s bulky cesta. The scoop is manufactured in the Philippines.
To play the Arm Ball, the player must hurl the ball directly to the front wall and the opponent player should catch the rebound ball and return it back to the wall.
A Jai Alai player himself, Deguzman said Jai Alai can be dangerous so he invented a safer alternative.
“Mas safe sa Jai Alai kasi sa Jai Alai gumagamit sila ng ball na solid, mabibilis. Then yung cesta ng Jai Alai mahirap ibato ng adult lalo na sa bata hindi mo kayang i-throw. Kaya na-develop ko yang gadget na yan,” said Deguzman.
His Arm Ball scoop uses a rubber ball similar to the balls used in handball and racquetball.
An occupational therapist by profession, Deguzman said he invested 10 years of research and study to create the perfect scoop.
He said that playing Arm Ball using his high-tech scoop is not only fun but it has many health benefits as well.
“It develops eye-hand coordination, balance or control, especially your shoulder control, gives you endurance and upper extremities strength,” he said.
In 1996, Deguzman was diagnosed with Guillain Barre Syndrome, a rare disorder in which the immune system damages the nerve cells. He was in coma for a few days. His legs and shoulder were paralyzed for 18 months.
Wheelchair-bound while recovering from the disease, he designed the prototype of the Arm Ball Scoop. The disorder was life changing for him.
“Masyado ko ngayong binigyan halaga ang buhay. You know were lucky enough to walk right now and just to breathe, just to wake up every morning,” he said.
Today, the Arm Ball Scoop can be seen played in many courts around New Jersey.
A search on YouTube shows how many people have embraced this game re-invented by a Kababayan.Deguzman already filed a patent on the game and owns the copyright for the name “Arm Ball Scoop.”