While injuries are common from skating sports, few biomechanics studies have compared fracture rates with and without protective wrist guards. All published testing results have been obtained from cadaveric specimens, generally with substantially axial loading. Loads to failure have been reported for slow loading by universal testing machines, and fracture patterns have been reported from more rapid loading with a pendulum system. An orthopaedic resident at Hamot Medical Center had an interest in in-line skating injuries and proposed to investigate whether wrist guards provided a reduction in the incidence of fractures from skating falls. The project started with the goal of demonstrating the value, or lack thereof, of wrist guards, and ended with simply trying to determine methodology which closely simulates wrist injury arising from a skating fall.
The hospital does not have engineering staff in the research department, nor extensive fabrication capabilities, and approached the School of Engineering and Engineering Technology of Penn State at Erie for assistance in design, construction, and data collection for a research project to investigate the efficacy of wrist guards. Assistance in kinematic aspects of falls was sought from the Motion Analysis Laboratory of Shriners Hospitals for Children - Erie. The logistics of a cooperative project between three institutions is the subject of this paper.
Initial planning for the project, revisions to the scope of the project, the financial arrangements, equipment design and construction, and data collection practices are described in this paper. Concluding remarks about the resources necessary for cooperative projects between medical schools and Engineering Technology departments are presented.