Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

MS in Biomedical Engineering (M.S.B.E.)

Degree Granting Department

Biomedical Engineering

Major Professor

Robert Frisina, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Stephanie Carey, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Stephen Sundarrao, M.S.


Kinematics, Sports and recreation, Upper limb, 3D motion analysis, Transfer Assessment Instrument


AbstractIndividuals with a low level spinal cord injury (SCI) at T1 or below must use a wheelchair for mobility and in order to accomplish daily activities, such as using a recreational wheelchair for sports. These individuals must transfer into and out of their wheelchair several times a day. It is most beneficial for the individual to complete these transfers independently, without the help of a caretaker or assistive device. It is important that these transfers be successful and safe, because improper technique can result in a serious injury from a fall or by repeated small damage to the arms and shoulders. The purpose of this study was to examine the biomechanics of independent wheelchair transfer and its associated energy expenditure for individuals with a low level SCI into recreational wheelchairs at a height equal to the seat of the subject’s personal chair and 10 centimeters below, as well as better understand the population’s participation in wheelchair sports and their use and satisfaction with their current recreational wheelchairs. Subjects with low level SCI transferred independently into the two recreational wheelchairs at each height while their movements were collected via motion capture simultaneously with several exertion metrics. Significant differences between the equal height and lower height were only found in the leading arm for shoulder flexion for the Racer, in the leading arm for elbow flexion in both recreational wheelchairs, and in the wrist rotation of the trailing arm for the Sport. Respondents to an online survey reported that they participated in eight different wheelchair sports, including cycling, sled hockey, wheelchair basketball, and wheelchair rugby, and that they were all highly satisfied with their current recreational wheelchairs.

Included in

Biomechanics Commons