WATCH - A Helping Hand: When Athletes Get Hurt, MSU Scientists And Engineers Step In

May 8, 2019

Michigan State basketball star Nick Ward broke his hand last season, and the College of Engineering stepped in to save his season through technology and creativity.

EAST LANSING, Mich. - When walking around Michigan State’s campus, it doesn’t seem obvious that the Breslin Center and the College of Engineering would have anything in common, but they do. And it all has to do with a hand.

Credit MSU College of Engineering

When basketball player Nick Ward broke his hand near the end of the regular season, Nick Richey, team’s athletic trainer, reached out to the College of Engineering to see if it could design a brace for him.

The answer came quickly, as by the next day, according to Mechanical Engineering Prof. Tamara Reid Bush, they were at the Breslin scanning Ward’s hand for a brace.

“Nick had just been injured, so it was a week after his injury, and he still couldn’t handle the basketball, so Xavier Tillman stepped in and he dribbled and passed so we could measure some force values and get an idea of what loading the hand might experience,” said Bush, who specializes in biomedical engineering.

This isn’t the first time for the College of Engineering to help out with sports programs on campus.

“They do their capstone design projects with our group which means that we identify an individual in our group that has certain needs as far as equipment is concerned too facilitate their participation and physical activity,” said Piotr Pasik, director of the adaptive sports and recreation club.

Bush said that a particular individual might have limited leg function that might want to play a group activity, so they design and create a wheelchair for them to compete in.

WKAR’s Current Sports beat reporter Samantha Basirico tells us more about these projects.