A Bournemouth University lecturer is helping a disabled cyclist to achieve his dream of representing Britain at the Rio 2016 Paralympics.
Dr Bryce Dyer is designing a prosthetic leg for amputee Craig Preece, who is in with a chance of making the Team GB cycling squad for next year’s summer Paralympic Games, held in Rio de Janeiro.
Currently a member of the Podium Squad, Craig is pushing himself to be ready for Rio, where he would compete in both road and track events, and is making gains in training towards the cause. As a below-the-leg amputee, a prosthetic leg enables him to compete at the highest levels.
Dr Dyer is working with both Preece and prosthetists at Pace Rehabilitation in designing the limb that he will use to train and, hopefully, compete with next year in Brazil.
The leg itself is being created following testing that determined the most effective geometry to provide maximum power transfer. The result of these tests led to Dyer generating several prototype designs that will now all be fabricated and evaluated aerodynamically in the field. The final result will see a set up that is comfortable, efficient and hopefully provide Preece with a competitive advantage.
“A project like this is tricky as you’re taking something that has to replace a limb that has been lost. It must be comfortable to use during extremely high levels of effort but has to perform well technically too,” explained Dr Dyer.
“It’s a great case study of our Product Design philosophy at BU – the balance of form and function, the technological and the humanistic”.
The senior lecturer in Product Design has a history of helping disabled athletes, having helped Irish athlete Colin Lynch on his way to a world title in the 2012 London Paralympic Games; Bryce was nominated for a Times Higher Education award in 2012 for his work.
Having won several other prizes for his work, including the prestigious Isambard Kingdom Brunel Award and Vice Chancellor’s Award for both excellence and achievement at Bournemouth University, Dr Dyer is also a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, a Chartered Scientist and a Chartered Technological Product Designer.
Speaking about the project, Dr Dyer said, “I realised we could develop something special but we’d need to do some further experimentation to find out how to push its performance on from what we did in the last project. We’re in the middle of that process now – the athlete has a chance of getting into the Team GB squad so it is exciting for all of us involved”.
Describing his decision to have his right leg amputated as “the best decision I’ve made,” Craig was bought a racing bike by Help for Heroes and never looked back. The father of two was injured by a roadside bomb while serving as a soldier with the Royal Engineers in Afghanistan in 2010.