New device helps people with cerebral palsy roller skate – Valley Times-News
Those who normally couldn’t skate due to cerebral palsy can now take to the skating rink at The Skatin ‘Rink at 128 Fob James Drive in Valley using a device designed by the engineering team at The Skatin’ Rink. Auburn University. It was originally designed for Jacob Carroll, now 20, who helped out in the skate center’s skate room, according to company co-owner Carmen Turnham.
Carmen and her husband, co-owner Jason Turnham, were thinking of finding a way to get Carroll to the ground after seeing a YouTube video showing a man with cerebral palsy in a device that allowed him to skateboard.
“However, it was more of a caged contraption, and my husband didn’t want it to be on top of him,” Carmen said. “So we sent [the Auburn University engineering department] the link to the YouTube video we saw, but we also told them what we wanted ours to look like. We didn’t want him to be so obvious skating. We just wanted him to maybe have it from the waist up so he could fit in a little better.
Coincidentally, before she or Jason contacted the engineering department at Auburn University, someone from it contacted Carmen to get her medical records.
“We wanted to go ahead and reach out to them, anyway,” Carmen said. “And it just happened about a month after they tried to start this project that someone on their team needed their medical records. And that’s when I was like, ‘Look at this perfect timing here. Let me go ahead and talk to her and see if we can get things done while I have her.
The device also has a handbrake, a support harness and a platform for the user to stand on. Turnham said the device is pulled by the skaters, who hold the side handles. The platform can detach to allow a user to actually skate.
Turnham said the device is adjustable for people of different heights.
Carmen said Carroll uses the device every weekend. He will soon be living on the University of West Georgia campus so that he can continue his college education in business management. Carmen said when that happens, it will probably come every other weekend.
Carmen estimated that the project started around September or October of last year.
“So it was almost a year-long project for them,” she said. “It was the senior developers. And when we finally saw him and saw him on it in Auburn that day, when we went over there to officially give it to him, it was overwhelming. My husband and I had to step back for a minute and pull ourselves together. It was wonderful to see him on this floor, and the kids love to see him there too. So I guess it’s been very rewarding from a community service perspective, to be able to see someone who wouldn’t normally be able to skate be able to skate now. “
“I’ve always wanted to skate so I love it,” said Carroll.
The RFM welding company donated some of the materials for the project, and Jacob’s father, Heath Carroll, did the welding.
The Auburn University team intends to make their invention available to other rinks and communities by making the master plan available online.