We believe everyBODY can play.  Making that a reality often takes problem-solving skills, ingenuity and great minds thinking from all angles. 

Adapting sports for people with disabilities offers a unique challenge to not only figure out ‘how to do it’ but also maintain the integrity of the sport, competition, and the athlete’s ability to control their own mastery and success.

Enter Dr. Ann Saterbak and the students, faculty and colleagues of the Pratt School of Engineering at Duke University. In efforts to get students involved in real-world scenarios and engaged with the Durham community as early as possible, Dr. Saterbak began the ‘First-Year Engineering Design’ course in 2017.  Organizations with unique challenges pair up with a team of first-year students who develop, build and present a prototype solution.

Bridge II Sports has been privileged to be involved with the course for several years receiving ingenious ideas to adapted sports challenges.  Just this past semester students developed a pulley system that allows someone to use one hand to lift and store a bulky handcycle upright against a wall. This creates greater independence for athletes using wheelchairs or having use of only one arm to access their equipment.  The prototype is currently installed in our BIIS warehouse.

This past week Dr. Saterbak and 3 visiting faculty from Dar es Saleem Institute of Technology, Tanzania and the University of Ibadan, Nigeria visited our program staff to learn more about adapted sports and discuss ideas for future projects.

On the list is a way to create greater independence in locating the target in archery and air rifle for athletes with visual impairments and developing an all-terrain cart for archery gear that can be manuevered by a person using a wheelchair. Of course all solutions also need to be durable and low cost.

“Now that’s a challenge!” stated Godfrey one of the visiting faculty.

…we have no doubt that Duke Engineering is up for it!

Stay tuned for updates on projects and other ways we are working to make sports accessible (and successful) for all.

group picture of Bridge 2 Sports program staff with Dr. Ann Saterbak and 3 visiting faculty members from universities in Africa