The USA Bobsled & Skeleton (USABS) federation developed a training camp at Lake Placid to train parapalegic athletes to participate in bobsled races. Instead of racing in teams, the paraplegic athletes are competing in one person sleds called monobobs. The athletes with spinal cord injuries have difficulty moving from their wheelchair into and back out of to the monobob because they have to rely solely on upper body strength. When the athletes enter the bobsled, the athlete's legs and feet often get stuck behind the seat, around the foot pegs, or on steering mechanisms. Not only does misplacement of the legs make the transfer process more difficult and time consuming, it has also led to serious injuries. Even if no injuries occur during the transfer, the process is time consuming and exhausting which can hinder their ability to perform well during practice races. Since the IBSF Para Sport Committee was only formed in 2010, there are no current or past specialized devices to help the athletes overcome these challenges. In order to fill the need for a specialized assistive device, Quality of Life Plus challenged our team with designing, building, and testing a transfer device to assist the spinal cord injured athletes. Our team will deliver a transfer device that bridges the gap between the transfer case and the seat, provides assistance for lifting and lowering the athletes, and prevents the athletes feet from getting caught inside the bobsled. To ensure our design will be safe, effective and meet all our client’s needs, we are maintaining frequent and detailed communication with our client and the athletes who will be using the device to achieve the deepest understanding of the design problem.
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