Christmas has come early for our festive fitness fellows Marlow RC and Royal Dolphins who have become the beneficiaries of some of the most advanced erg fixed seats in the world. First used at Stoke Mandeville Spinal Clinic (where I first discovered one during the rowing taster sessions – see photo above). Developed by the engineering charity, Demand, Professor of Clinical Engineering at Bournemouth University Ian Swain describes its development:
- “Approximately 10 years ago work at Brunel University between Prof Brian Andrews and Robin Gibbons a PhD student, who was himself paraplegic, led to the design of an adapted rowing machine suitable for use as part of an electrical stimulation based rowing system for people with paraplegia. The original rowing machine was built by Demand. However before it could be used outside the remit of research the adapted rower had to comply with the Medical Devices Directive (MDD). The original adapted components were therefore redesigned by the Department of Clinical Science and Engineering at Salisbury NHS Trust including a pressure reducing seat, leg supports to prevent the legs falling out sideways, and a brake mechanism to enable safe transfers as well as arms only rowing. Also, like the original, it featured a redesigned angle adjustment of the track, trunk support and full shoulder harness. A grant was then obtained from Sport England (National Lottery Fund) to manufacture a number of machines to distribute to Spinal Treatment Units and Rowing Centres. However changes in the MDD caused severe delays before the adapted rower could be CE marked which was finally achieved in 2019. There are at present two machines in Salisbury, two at Stanmore Hospital and one at Stoke Mandeville. In the near future one machine will be being provided to Marlow Rowing Club and two machines will be delivered to The London Regatta Centre early in the New Year.”
If you have an athlete that you think might benefit from such extra support, feel free to contact Cheryl Brown at Royal Dolphins or myself at Marlow RC to arrange an opportunity to come by and try it out.