PULSE Racing – We stimulate to cycle
PULSE Racing was founded to advance functional electrostimulation (FES) for people with spinal cord injury. Having a spinal cord injury causes several physical problems. Besides the inability to walk and reduced mobility, people with paraplegia also have a reduced condition, disturbed blood circulation and a high risk of pressure sores. This has a negative impact on their quality of life and personal well-being. FES has a proven positive influence on the physical condition of people with spinal cord injury. The active movements induced by FES have positive effects on the condition, blood circulation and psychological state.
PULSE Racing strives to return mobility and vitality to people with paraplegia by contributing to the developments of FES Cycling. It is important that we increase the accessibility of training with FES in the Netherlands and make this treatment method more widely understood. In addition, we want to generate a new platform of competitive cycling for people with paraplegia.
By participating in events and exhibiting at fairs, we hope to increase awareness of FES.
PULSE Racing also participates in both national and international FES cycling competitions. in 2020 we even won the gold medal at the Cybathlon! We train hard with the aim of improving our athletes’ performance and winning even more races. Besides all this, we also do research on FES. Each year, the team decides which research goal to focus on. With our results, we hope to stimulate new research and developments and improve our training and performance.).
In the academic year 2017-2018, PULSE Racing was set up by movement science students from VU University Amsterdam. They have taken up the challenge to bring FES-cycling to another level together with athletes who have spinal cord injury.
Every year, a new team consisting of students from the VU University Amsterdam is put together to further develop FES. Although PULSE Racing started with a team consisting only of students from the movement sciences, it has now become a multidisciplinary team consisting of students from various bachelor and master studies within health and technology.
The target group of PULSE Racing consists of people with a complete spinal cord injury. A spinal cord injury is caused by damage to the spinal cord, for example, by accident or illness. The spinal cord contains the nerves that control the muscles so that the body can move. Damage to these nerves means that part of the body can no longer be controlled.
The extent of the damage determines which part of the body becomes paralysed. Problems can arise in the area of trunk stability and arm function. These functions are necessary for maintaining posture on the bicycle. For this reason, we focus on people with a complete spinal cord injury with only failure of the lower extremities. However, we are always looking for innovations to enable people with higher spinal cord injuries to cycle as well. In the past year, we have also provided remote assistance to athletes who have a berkelbike at home and made training schedules for them.