The Paralympic Games is the main international multi-sport event for people with a variety of disabilities but is also where the latest orthopedic technology is exposed.
This technology helps the athletes to improve their skills despite their conditions and it also gives you new technology to look for. Paralympics became a bit of a showcase for surgeons. It’s a must-go event to be part of the latest news in the field.
Denise Schindler became part of the history on 2016 Rio Paralympic Games, becoming the first Paralympic cyclist to use 3D-printed prosthesis.
Schindler had her right leg amputated after a childhood accident and to ride she used a specially designed prosthetic leg that adapts to the pedal, a hand-made carbon-fiber prosthesis, which helped her win the silver medal on 2012 London Paralympic Games. Since last year (2015), she and her orthopedic technician, Thomas Wellmer, have been working along with Autodesk Software Company in order to create a 3D-printed polycarbonate leg.
Sports prostheses are highly custom made and detailed pieces of equipment which requires a lot of redesign and refit to accommodate slight changes on athlete’s body.
The whole process conceiving the new prosthesis was time-consuming and expensive, but Schindler and her team never gave up, “One of the big benefits of doing it digitally is that the process is much faster. With the 3D model we can see the changes much better and react faster.” She said to Deezen Magazine.
3D technology played the major role on this year’s Paralympics.
BMW Designworks teamed up with US Paralympic Track and Field to design racing cars custom-fitted to every athlete so the vehicle becomes less of a machine and more of an extension of the body. The racing-wheelchair they designated don’t seem to be any different than chairs used in past-events but don’t get it wrong, they were subtle and huge at the same time.
This teamwork made a full-body scan of each athlete’s body to design racing-wheelchairs that tailored to the body of each racer. It’s the type of equipment that doesn’t get in the way of the athlete’s skill, it became part of the athlete’s natural talent.
Technology can play a big role on the Paralympians and on society’s view on prosthetics, which is always assumed to be a new limb designed to replace a function. As an orthopedic surgeon you have the power to change this way of thinking. It’s not a replacement of a member, it’s an improvement of the body.
When sports and technology team up, it only help people with disabilities to overcome limits and quality life. It promotes social integration, helping the individual rediscover that it is possible to despite all of the physical limitations, to have a healthy life and keep on fighting. Orthopedics, like you, play a big role on this kind of enthusiasm. Show them a new way of opportunities.
image source: Dezeen Magazine