Paralympian Uses 3D Printing to Create Snowboarding Prosthetics for Team USA
“It’s not hard to understand the impact that 3D printing is having on business and crafting. It’s an amazing method for creating and has solved countless problems associated with traditional manufacturing methods, ranging from wasted material to the lag time for prototyping. But 3D printing isn’t just good for business or craft, it’s also making a difference in the quality of people’s lives. From surgical guides to implantsto prosthetics, 3D printing is in the news time and time again for the multitude of ways that it improves people’s, and animals‘, joy in living.
For paralympian Mike Schultz, that joy comes from the world of winter sports. However, there was a time when it seemed that he might not be able to continue to participate in his cold weather competitions. In 2008, while competing in a snocross race in Michigan, he was thrown from his snowmobile and the impact shattered his knee. The difficult decision to amputate his left leg, just above the knee, had to made after his injuries began to cause organ failure. After months of intensive therapies and relearning to walk using a prosthetic, Mike became restless and began to look for ways that he could get back into the saddle. As he explained in an interview with engadget:
“I spent a total of 13 days in the hospital and was able to get back home on Christmas Eve to a whole new world of challenges. Later that spring, after learning how to walk on my everyday prosthetic leg, I realized pretty quickly that I need a plan B to get back into sports and the fun activities that I wanted to do…I needed a knee system that would have some spring resistance in it to help keep extended while I’m standing up, then allow it to absorb the impact from the rough terrain.”…”
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