PULSE Racing – We stimulate to cycle
PULSE Racing was established to further develop functional electrical stimulation (FES) for people with a spinal cord injury. Having paraplegia causes various physical problems. In addition to being unable to walk and an overall restriction of mobility, people with paraplegia also face other issues such as disturbed blood circulation and a higher risk of pressure ulcers. This, of course, has negative consequences for the quality of life and personal well-being. Treatment with FES has a proven positive effect on the physical condition of people with paraplegia. The active movements initiated through FES have been shown to improve blood flow, reduce the occurrence of pressure ulcers and increase psychological well-being. The scientific underpinning of these beneficial effects have given us an incentive and encouraged us to participate in the FES Bike Race during the Cybathlon in 2020. With our participation, we aim to make FES more widely known and motivate more people to use FES.
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.
PULSE Racing aims to win (inter) national cycling competitions with Functional Electrical Stimulation (abbreviated FES), with the Cybathlon of Zürich in 2020 as the main event.
PULSE Racing was set up in 2017 by students of Human Movement Sciences at VU University Amsterdam and every year a new team is formed to further develop our understanding of FES Cycling. Working together with athletes, the team is taking on the challenge of elevating FES Cycling to a new level in the Netherlands.
The project allow for people and technology to come together, which provides an opportunity to involve students with diverse professional knowledge. This means that we need to involve students with other professional knowledge as well. In order to provide technical support, students with a mechanical engineering or electronics background are highly desired.
The target group of PULSE Racing are individuals with a complete spinal cord injury. A spinal cord injury occurs due to damage to the spinal cord, for example due to an accident or illness. Within the spinal cord, the nerves that allow for the control of muscles and voluntary bodily movements are found. Damage to these nerves means that part of the body can no longer be controlled. Which part of the body will be left paralyzed after an injury depends on the location of the damage. The higher the damage on the spine, the more parts of the body that can no longer be controlled. PULSE Racing focusses on FES-Cycling, in which stability and arm function are desired. Thus, our specific target group consists of people with complete paraplegia of the lower limbs. However, innovations to enable people with a higher spinal cord injury to cycle are currently being investigated.