Students Create Reactive Suit That Shows Paraplegic Athletes When They Are Injured

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The one thing athletes who have disabilities struggle with is assessing the severity of injuries they get while playing sports. It becomes especially troublesome for people who are paralyzed from waist down and play sports like wheelchair basketball, sit ski, motor racing and several others where they come in contact with other players or objects, resulting in physical trauma or internal injuries. Internal injuries often don’t give any visible warning, and if the athlete cannot feel impact or pain because of paralysis, they may not even know that they are injured. This can be dangerous since they can bleed to death or have some other serious life threatening consequences if they don’t treat their injury during or right after the game.
To combat this problem, a team of students at Imperial College in London has designed a reactive prototype suit that will enable people paralyzed from the waist down to identify physical impact/injuries immediately and assess how serious those injuries are. The trousers consists of pockets in different areas that have a removable strip of pressure reactive film. Whenever impact occurs to the area where the strip has been placed, it registers impact in the form of a magenta stain. Higher the impact, higher is the color intensity of the stain. This does two things – first of all, it notifies the athlete immediately that they have had an injury, and second, the pattern and color intensity can help experts analyze what type of injury the athlete has. (Different type of injuries have different patterns/bloom on the strip)
At the end of the day, this suit gives peace of mind to the athletes, trainers and support staff.

Photo showing reactive trouser and all the areas that have pockets to hold reactive strip
Pockets located on each bone (click to enlarge)

Photo describes how stains appear wherever contact pressure is applied
Description of how the pressure sensitive film works (click to enlarge)
Watch this video to see what it takes to create the suit, and the testing process it goes through.

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