3D Printing Production and Customized Adaptive Sports Equipment
Synopsis: Study of potential impact of 3D printing to create greater access to sports equipment and increase sports participation for people with disabilities. Improvements in flexibility and strength of polymer materials can allow Orthotic and Prosthetic practitioners to 3D Print an entire prosthetic socket, reducing cost and production time of customization and fitting for adaptive sports prosthetics. Most adaptive sports programs operate as nonprofit organizations with limited financial resources. In addition, many pieces of adaptive sports equipment needs to be customized to fit the physical needs of each individual athlete.
How 3D Printing technology could be used to reduce costs and help introduce more people with disabilities to the benefits of sports.
Sports and Social Change solutions in collaboration with the Anderson Strategy Group and UCLA Anderson School of Management, today released the results of a 14-week research project that explored business solutions to address the high cost of adaptive sports equipment such as sports wheelchairs and prosthetics, and the potential impact of 3D printing on the design, development and manufacturing process.
The goal of the study was to identify ways to create greater access to sports equipment and increase sports participation for people with disabilities. The study reported a number of key observations:
- The cost of obtaining sports equipment is the biggest addressable global challenge for people with disabilities in attempting to gain access to adaptive sports.
- For amputees, continued improvements in flexibility and strength of polymer materials can allow Orthotic and Prosthetic practitioners to 3D Print an entire prosthetic socket, significantly reducing the cost and production time of customization and fitting for adaptive sports prosthetics.
- An emerging trend towards creating an open source 3D printing ecosystem could dramatically boost adoption and usher in innovation in adaptive sports equipment.
The high cost of adaptive sports equipment poses a significant barrier to entry for people with disabilities that want to participate in sports programs.
The vast majority of adaptive sports programs operate as nonprofit organizations or NGOs, with limited financial resources to purchase and maintain the necessary equipment. In addition, many pieces of adaptive sports equipment need to be customized to fit the physical needs of each individual athlete, further increasing the cost. People with disabilities who are interested in purchasing their own adaptive sports equipment commonly absorb these costs themselves, as insurance or medical programs rarely cover these items.
The primary adaptive sports equipment profiled in this study included wheelchairs for basketball, tennis and racing, mono/sit-skis, hand-cycles and a range of active-use prosthetics.
Both cost and consumer analyses were conducted, focusing on adaptive sports equipment manufacturers, 3D printing companies, athletes with physical disabilities (such as paraplegia, quadriplegia, spinal cord injury, spina bifida, amputee, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis) and nonprofit adaptive sports organizations.
The project was developed and led by Sports and Social Change, a sports marketing consultancy with a focus on nonprofit, mission driven and cause related programming in the global sports community. Financial support was provided by UCLA Anderson Center for Global Management and the Challenged Athletes Foundation.
The study was authored by the Anderson Strategy Group, a team of six UCLA Anderson School of Management students: Jane Chynoweth, UCLA Anderson 2015 (Project Lead); Apurv Awasthi, UCLA Anderson 2016; George Buckley, UCLA Anderson 2016; Arthur Hu, UCLA Anderson 2016; Danielle Koo, UCLA Anderson 2016; Nicholas Salameh, UCLA Anderson 2016.
The Anderson Strategy Group conducted over 1,000 hours of research, and interviewed more than 85 stakeholders across 21 countries. Research partners and primary contributors included: International Paralympic Committee / Agitos Foundation, Rio 2016 Paralympic Integration Committee, US Paralympics, Mpower Sports and Recreation, UCLA Adaptive Recreation, Angel City Games, Team Ezra, Challenged Athletes Foundation, Triumph Foundation, DisAbility Sports Festival, Motivation UK, National Ability Center, Hanger Prosthetics, Ossur, Hands On Concepts, Eezitec, Not Impossible Labs, and Mountain Orthotic & Prosthetic Services.
This quality-reviewed article relating to our Medical 3D Printing section was selected for publishing by the editors of Disabled World due to its likely interest to our disability community readers. Though the content may have been edited for style, clarity, or length, the article "3D Printing Production and Customized Adaptive Sports Equipment" was originally written by Sports and Social Change, and published by Disabled-World.com on 2015/06/16 (Updated: 2021/08/17). Should you require further information or clarification, Sports and Social Change can be contacted at sportsandsocialchange.org. Disabled World makes no warranties or representations in connection therewith.
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Cite This Page (APA): Sports and Social Change. (2015, June 16). 3D Printing Production and Customized Adaptive Sports Equipment. Disabled World. Retrieved October 4, 2023 from www.disabled-world.com/news/research/3d-printing/sports-equipment.php