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Extreme sports instant aid hope

8th May 2007

Extreme sports enthusiasts may soon have on-the-spot treatment if they break a limb in a remote area far from medical help.

A team from Sheffield Hallam University has built a portable plastic splint that can protect broken bones and help their recovery. The developers aim for it to be particularly helpful to people injured taking part in winter sports in isolated or inaccessible locations. Around 45,000 people are injured in snow sports every year.

The First Aid Splint was designed as part of a collaboration between the Sheffield team and France's Institut Superieur de Plasturgie d'Alencon (ISPA) to investigate the light and flexible properties of plastic.

Paul Chamberlain, professor of design at Sheffield Hallam University commented: "Plastic has surprising uses that are not currently being explored."

The splint, which was awarded an international design prize, allows heat and rigidity to be swiftly applied to the limb by means of a gel produced by a chemically reactive metal strip and saturated sodium acetate solution.

John Brewer, director of the Lucozade Sport Science Academy, stated: "Rapid treatment of any injury is an essential part of the recovery process. Most traumatic injuries will cause internal bleeding and swelling, which will be exacerbated if the injured area is moved or left untreated."

"Therefore a splint of this nature should be a positive aid to the recovery and rehabilitation process, since it will quickly immobilise the injured area and prevent further trauma from occurring."



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