Fieldlab UPPS

Design of a Wrist Brace for Professional Goalkeepers

1.3.2021
Orbie B.V.

Summary

The objective of this project was to engineer a wrist guard specifically designed for professional football goalkeepers, offering a robust and comfortable alternative to traditional wrist taping methods. The primary challenge addressed by the project was the prevalent issue of wrist overextension injuries among goalkeepers, necessitating a solution that would allow essential wrist movements for effective goalkeeping while preventing injurious extensions. The design process was characterised by the innovative use of parametric modelling, enabling the creation of personalised wrist guards tailored to individual goalkeepers' anatomies for enhanced protection and comfort. Furthermore, the project employed co-creation methodologies, engaging directly with professional goalkeepers and hand therapists to refine the wrist guard's design to meet the exacting demands of professional play. The resulting product is not only a testament to the project's success in blending protection with performance but also sets a new benchmark in the development of protective sports equipment, emphasizing customization, user comfort, and sustainability.

Problem Definition

Professional football goalkeepers are confronted with a unique challenge: the need for wrist mobility to perform at their best, counterbalanced by the necessity to limit wrist movement to prevent overextension injuries. This paradox is made worse by traditional wrist taping methods, which, while providing some level of protection, can be time-consuming to apply and may hinder the goalkeeper's performance by restricting essential movements. The project aimed to address this challenge by designing a wrist guard that effectively balances the dual requirements of mobility for performance and restriction for injury prevention, providing a practical and efficient solution to a longstanding issue in professional goalkeeping.

UPPS Workflow Description

Collect Phase

Analyse Phase

Design Phase

Parametric Modelling

The project took a significant step forward in customisation and efficiency by employing a Grasshopper script in its parametric modelling approach. This script was intricately designed to shape the wrist guard's protective plates precisely to a 3D scan of the goalkeeper's wrist, ensuring a perfect fit. This method was crucial in achieving a fully personalised product, where each wrist guard was uniquely tailored to the individual wearer's anatomy. The adaptability of the parametric model, powered by Grasshopper, allowed for the seamless integration of complex data inputs, resulting in a design that not only prevented overextension injuries but also maintained the goalkeeper's comfort and performance levels. The protective plates, engineered through this sophisticated modelling process, were optimised to limit harmful wrist extensions while allowing the necessary movements for effective goalkeeping. This advanced use of parametric modelling underscored the project's commitment to innovation and precision in developing a solution that addresses the specific needs of professional goalkeepers.

Co-creation

The co-creation aspect of the project was critical in ensuring the wrist guard met the complex demands of professional goalkeeping. By actively involving key stakeholders, such as professional goalkeepers and hand therapists, in the development process, the project benefited from a wealth of practical insights and expert opinions. This collaborative approach allowed for real-time feedback and iterative improvements to the design, ensuring that the final product not only provided the necessary protection against wrist overextension but also upheld the performance standards expected by professional athletes. The co-creation process facilitated a deep understanding of the nuanced balance between mobility and protection required in a high-performance setting. As a result, the wrist guard was refined to offer maximum comfort without compromising on the essential protective features, thereby aligning closely with the goalkeepers' needs for reliable and efficient wrist injury prevention.

Produce Phase

Use Phase

Conclusion

This project concludes the development of a personalised wrist guard that represents a significant advancement in the prevention of wrist injuries among professional football goalkeepers. Through the strategic application of parametric modelling and co-creation with key stakeholders, the project succeeded in designing a wrist guard that not only meets the specific needs of professional goalkeepers but also introduces a new level of customisation and comfort in protective sports gear. The positive reception of the prototype, evidenced by successful field tests and enthusiastic feedback from professionals, underscores the wrist guard's potential to make a substantial impact in the realm of sports injury prevention. With the initiation of a patent application process, the project is poised to transition from a promising concept to a commercially viable product, setting new standards for innovation and efficacy in sports protective equipment.

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