Hockey Stick Adaptor

Doug Poulsen, CPO


Early in the 1980's , members of the Prosthetics and Orthotics Department at the Rehabilitation Center for Children (RCC) in Winnipeg, Canada became aware of the need for a terminal device which would give transradial amputees the ability to hold and use a hockey stick. Their efforts have resulted in a hockey stick adapter and a hockey prosthesis that allow children of all ages to participate in recreational and competitive hockey.

Over the past twelve years, RCC has fit approximately 45 to 50 transradial amputees with a hockey stick adapter or hockey prosthesis. Children from four to eighteen years of age and all levels of amputation have successfully been fitted with the devices. Users have varied from recreational street hockey players to top-level hockey players.

Our primary goal was to provide a device that would be:

  1. safe
  2. lightweight
  3. cost effective
  4. adjustable
  5. acceptable to the patient

This poster presentation will outline the process of fitting and construction of the hockey adapter and hockey prosthesis, as well as design modifications made in response to client feedback. With the ever-growing worldwide popularity of hockey, these devices are invaluable in creating new opportunities for young amputees.

The Hockey Stick Adaptor

The adapter consists of three basic components:

1. Ball receiver
This component accepts the hockey stick at one end and the 7/8" ball at the other end. The layup consists of two nyglass and two spectrolon with an acrylic resin mixture of 70% flexible to 30% rigid. Three 1/4" holes are drilled and spaced evenly around the diameter of the ball receiver.

This will allow the adapter to open up and receive the 7/8" ball. The amount of tension required for holding the ball in place is determined by the number of elastics used. The opposite end receives the hockey stick and is usually held in place with hockey tape and a small wood screw.

2. Laminated stick
This component accepts the hockey stick at one end and the 7/8" ball at the other end. The layup consists of two nyglass and two spectrolon with an acrylic resin mixture of 70% flexible to 30% rigid. Three 1/4" holes are drilled and spaced evenly around the diameter of the ball receiver.

This will allow the adapter to open up and receive the 7/8" ball. The amount of tension required for holding the ball in place is determined by the number of elastics used. The opposite end receives the hockey stick and is usually held in place with hockey tape and a small wood screw.

This component is actually two identical machined delron pieces held together with a 1"1/4 X 20 bolt with a lock nut. Each piece has a 1/2x20 threaded end which allows you to attach the 7/8" ball on one end and screw it into the wrist unit on the opposite end. The overall length length is 2.5" when fully extended. The patient has enough adjustability to determine whatever angle is desired by pivoting the two pieces and then locking them into position with the nut and bolt.

3. Ball
This component is a molded plastic control ball with a 1/2- 20 brass threaded fitting. These are readily available at most tool and supply companies.

Fitting the Hockey Adapter and Hockey Prosthesis
The children and parents assessed at RCC's Juvenile Amputee Clinic are made aware of the availability of the hockey adaptor at preschool age. Some of the children (three to six years) have requested an adaptor that enables them to play street or recreational hockey with their older brothers and sisters. Most organized hockey, ringette and school floor hockey programs don't commence until the children are six to twelve years of age.

The first hockey adaptor is used in conjunction with a passive prosthesis. The patient interchanges the terminal devices as needed.

When it becomes apparent that the child is becoming increasingly involved in the sport, the Prosthetics Department will fabricate a hockey prosthesis.

The Hockey Stick Prosthesis

If the child becomes involved in top level ice hockey, which includes body contact, we will design custom hockey prosthesis. This is accomplished by altering the suspension or adding an auxiliary suspension. (i.e. We would go from a slip socket to a door system for the wrist disarticulation and usually add a figure 9 harness to the short transradial using supracondylar suspension.

A stainless steel rod is used in place of the delron pieces. Many of the children or youths are able to describe which pre-determined angle they prefer, and the steel is bent to that angle.

To accommodate the short transdradial amputee, the total length of the prosthesis is shortened as much as possible. This enables the athlete to handle the puck with greater ease.

Conclusion

The design of our present day hockey adaptor and hockey prosthesis has been a joint effort of the Rehabilitation Center for Children's Prosthetics and Orthotics Department and the athletes that use the devices. The hockey adaptor has become an important part of our recreational prosthetics program. The devices allow athletes to participate in and enjoy their favorite sport to their full potential. Locally two athletes have become the top scorers in their league! The positive feedback from parents, coaches, and teammates and the amputee tell us that RCC's hockey stick adaptor continues to be a worthwhile and rewarding project.

For further information about these and other recreational prosheses designed and fabricated by the Rehabilitation Centre for Children, please contact:

Doug Paulson, C.P.O.
Director of Prosthetics and Orthotics
Rehabilitation Centre for Children
633 Wellington Crescent
Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada
R3M 0A8
Tel. (204) 452-4311
Fax:(204)477-5547