Category: water sports general

Kayak Assistive Devices For Individuals With Spinal Cord Injury

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--- CUSTOMIZED ADAPTATION --------- PURPOSE: To create a modified paddle grip and paddle supporting device for individuals with minimal upper body function after a C6 spinal cord injury (SCI) to use while participating in open water kayaking. Individuals with C6 SCI have little access to outdoor adventure activities due to their limited lower body mobility. The modified devices were created for and used by a non-profit organization, The Adaptive Adventure Sports Coalition (TAASC) for recreational use to assist with two specific functions while open water kayaking with SCI: (1) holding the paddle and (2) supporting the weight of the paddle while maintaining a full range of motion for normal kayaking maneuvers. To facilitate holding the paddle, a twist and lock male to female attachment secures the kayaker’s hands to the paddle. A retractable wire that is attached to the center of the paddle supports the paddle weight. The paddle grip modification includes a male hand attachment and a female paddle attachment. The male attachment pieces were fabricated from a 3-D object printer with a stainless steel pin inserted in the shaft for reinforcement. The male attachment is secured to a wheelchair push glove with thread and glue. The female attachment pieces mounted on the paddle include four 3-D object printed parts and four PVC pipe clamps. The hollow shaft in the female pieces has a slotted horizontal channel so the male piece can twist securely into place. The kayaker turns his or her hands with the thumbs inward to align the male pins above the female slot, and then pushes the male attachment into the slot. The kayaker can then rotate the hands so the male pins slide into the horizontal channel. The paddle supporting device is rigidly attached to the front of the kayak with a set of four bolts and three custom built aluminum sheet attachments. A bent rectangular piece underneath the kayak is used as a rigid stabilizer for the two pieces on the top of the kayak. A tool retractor with variable tension adjustment is used to support the paddle weight. The tool retractor wire runs through a hollow aluminum shaft that provides a point of support vertically above the kayaker’s hands. The aluminum shaft has adjustable angle capabilities to adapt to various sizes of kayakers. The edges of the aluminum sheets are lined with rubber inside the kayak to reduce the risk of skin irritation. One of the benefits of this design is that the paddle grip and support devices do not need to be used concurrently. Individuals can choose to use the paddle grip device without the paddle support device. Also, the paddle grip device allows a quick release of the paddle for the kayaker’s safety. The support mechanism does not restrict the range of motion of the paddle, allowing the kayaker to use the paddle to push off of objects or paddle backward. The approximate cost of all materials was $2,960. TITLE: Kayak Assistive Devices for Individuals with Spinal Cord Injury. JOURNAL: NSF 2010 Engineering Senior Design Projects to Aid Persons with Disabilities. REF: Chapter 8: pp. 84-85. PAGES: 3 with cover. 2010.


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Kayak Assistive Devices For Individuals With Spinal Cord Injury

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