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Adapting rowing ergs: customized solutions for people with SCI

Funder: Craig H Neilsen Foundation

Funding period
USD 55 K
Funding amount
Title: Adapting rowing ergs: customized solutions for people with SCI

Although exercise is broadly recognized to improve health outcomes and quality of life for people with SCI there are limited cost-effective options for exercise equipment. Ergometer rowing is a highly effective exercise in the general population generating cardiovascular and strength benefits and we expect to see similar benefits in people with SCI. We aim to design modifications that can be installed on off-the-shelf ergometers to facilitate seating, gripping, transferring, and machine function to maximize independent use. The overall aim of this project is to make ergs an accessible exercise alternative for people with SCI. We have three measurable goals:

1) Host an introduction to rowing and erg customization workshop for people with SCI.
2) Co-create custom accessibility solutions in collaboration with people with SCI.
3) Develop an online resource library with designs for modifying ergs for accessibility.

Our first goal is to host a two-day customization workshop and pararowing event in partnership with Rowing BC to introduce people to ergometers, to meet para athletes, to discuss what works and does not work for seated rowing solutions, and to identify their individual needs. Our second goal is to conduct an iterative co-creation process with SCI athletes to develop and fabricate solutions to make standard rowing ergs accessible for a broad range of rowers with SCIs and distribute these solutions to rowing clubs across British Columbia. Collaborating with a para rowing coach and a biomechanist, we will assess the safety and efficacy of our design solutions and develop video tutorials for proper use. Our third goal is to develop online resources including video coaching and a library of customized rowing solutions with drawings and prototypes so anyone can replicate our designs and assemble an accessible erg system for their own use. An interactive arts student will assist in designing web content and scripting, filming and editing making and training videos.

Partnerships with SCI-BC and Rowing BC will ensure our solutions reach their intended audience. ICORD will install one erg in PARC, the Physical Activity Research Centre that is committed to providing opportunities for the local SCI community to participate in research on exercise and physical activity. Rowing BC’s para coach Martin George will assist in identifying athletes and end users as well as distributing results of this work to rowing clubs across British Columbia. SCI-BC will provide a platform to share design results and recruit partners for our design co-creation process. The design co-creation process will develop customized accessible solutions in partnership with people with SCI, a para rowing coach, and a biomechanist to ensure solutions meet users’ needs and perform safely and effectively. (CHN: COandI chn:wdg)
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