An Adapted Table-Tennis Paddle for the Physically Handicapped Child

Roger S. Brummett


The adapted table-tennis (ping-pong) paddle described in this article was prepared by the writer to meet the specific needs of a 16-year-old boy with quadriplegia resulting from a traumatic spinal lesion at the C-5 level ( Fig. 1 ). The boy experienced loss of function in his hands and his triceps muscles as well as in his entire lower trunk and limbs. However, his biceps were not involved. Hence, fairly unlimited movement of his arms was possible.

Adaptation of the Paddle

The materials required ( Fig. 2 ) in adapting a ping-pong paddle to this patient's needs were:

  • A standard table-tennis paddle. A "Regent" paddle was used in the instance described in this report (Item A)
  • Upholstery tacks (Item B)
  • 2 to 2 ½ ft. of ¾ in. clear plastic tubing (Item C)
  • Velcro strips "hook-side" and "eye-side" (Item D)
  • Small wood screws (Item E)

Fabrication Procedures

The steps followed in fabricating the adapted paddle ( Fig. 3 ) were:

  1. A Velcro strip ("hook-side") was inserted into the plastic tubing, with approximately 3 in. of Velcro protruding from one end of the sheath. The plastic material presents a smooth nonabrasive surface to the player's hand and wrist while the Velcro serves to secure the supporting strap with the desired tightness.
  2. One end of the plastic sheath was attached to the head of the paddle handle with upholstery tacks (Item A).
  3. A loop was made in the sheathing for a thumb hold (Item B).
  4. Additional upholstery tacks were used to secure the sheathing (and the beginning of the Velcro strip) to the paddle handle (Item C).
  5. Small wood screws were used to secure the plastic sheath to the end of the paddle (Item D).
  6. A second sheath-enclosed "hook-side" Velcro strap (12 in. long) was attached to the head of the paddle handle on the opposite side ( Fig. 4 , Item E). Small wood screws were used here also. The Velcro strip extended approximately 3 in. from the end of the sheathing.
  7. A strip of "eye-side" Velcro approximately 4 in. long was sewn to the outside of the sheathing of the first strap (step 2 above). The "hook-side" strips of Velcro were wrapped around the player's wrist and secured to the "eye-side" strip ( Fig. 4 , Item C).

Application

The player's thumb is inserted into the thumb-hold loop of the paddle ( Fig. 3 , Item B), and the handle is placed in his palm. Strap No. 1 passes behind his hand and around his wrist and the "hook-side" Velcro is attached to the "eye-side" strip as described above.

Strap No. 2 is then wrapped in the opposite direction, thus creating support for the paddle and securing it snugly in the palm of the player's hand.

With the adaptations to the standard table-tennis paddle described, this quadriplegic patient was able to participate actively in the game.

Community Services Director The Salvation Army, Dayton, Ohio