In 2008, Schultz signed a contract with a new team. In the second race of the International Series of Champions (ISOC) snocross, he sat late at the start and decided to do his best to catch up. Not calculating the trajectory on rough terrain, Schultz lost his balance and flew out of his snowmobile.
He landed with all his mass on his left leg, which at that moment was fully extended. She could not withstand a blow of such force. “This is not a dream in a nightmare: my leg was on my chest,” recalls Schultz. “I literally hit myself on the chin with my toe!”
During his racing career, Schultz suffered many injuries, but this injury could not be compared with a normal fracture. For the rider to survive, he had to amputate his left leg about 7 centimeters above the knee.
According to Schultz’s father, the first thing his son said when he recovered from anesthesia after the operation was: “We must live and move on.” In the spring of 2009, Schultz got on his first prosthesis. A few months later, he realized that he needed something better, namely a prosthesis that would allow him to return to the sport. Schultz was convinced he could design it himself.
From his racing experience, Schultz knew how to hold his body in order to successfully complete the track. He was also well versed in the suspension and other mechanical components of his snowmobiles. It only remained to apply this understanding to build a new leg.
Having squeezed the most out of his natural curiosity, remembering drawing lessons in ninth grade and spending heaps of paper (and even more erasers), Schultz led the development of a new prosthetic leg, with which he would return to what he loved. Drawings, corrections, drawings again … and finally, after a month and a half, the project was ready. Manufacturing work began.
Seven months after his injury, Schultz entered the Summer XGames supercross competition and won a silver medal – on a leg he constructed in his garage.
Many people need help
It was at this time that Schultz realized that his invention could help not only himself, but also many comrades in misfortune.
Schultz saw that there were many amputated people around who had not lost their craving for snowmobiling, snowboarding and other physical activities. Schultz began to ponder how to make the product more versatile. In early 2010, he founded BioDapt to develop and manufacture high-performance prosthetic legs for those who do not want to give up on an active lifestyle – including driving a car.
Solving design problems
Schultz prepares 2D sketches and hands them over to the designers, commenting on all the unclear points. Further development is carried out by engineers in a 3D CAD system.
“SOLIDWORKS makes the process much easier and faster and allows us to achieve much more, says Schultz enthusiastically. “We digitally test our computer models using SOLIDWORKS Simulation to identify any weak points.”
When developing the VF (Versa Foot) 2 model, the engineering team was faced with the task of ensuring compactness, without losing at the same time in strength, because in real conditions the dynamic loads on the prosthesis can exceed 2200 N (225 kgf). Another problem successfully solved by the designers is the unique Moto Knee road roller system.
“The travel of the shock is 5 cm, and we needed to get the knee joint to bend 130 degrees during that time,” says Schultz.
SOLIDWORKS allows the BioDapt team to work not only together in the office, but also remotely. Although Schultz himself regularly travels to competitions, he does not lose contact with colleagues and does not break away from the work process. Schultz states:
“The ability to share design data while traveling is the key to our company’s continued progress.”
Opening doors for others
Schultz’s wife Sarah has witnessed many new clients put on BioDapt prostheses for the first time and is very impressed with their reaction:
“Their eyes shine with hope, the opportunity to do what they love is returning to them.” People say to Schultz: “You brought me back to life.”
In the 2018 Paralympic Games, nine snowboarders with BioDapt prostheses climbed the podium. In total, they have 11 medals on their account in these competitions.
“It was a real moment of pride for me and my entire company,” says Schultz. – “It’s great to win a medal yourself, but it’s even more worth the fact that you can give a positive impetus to many other people.”
BioDapt continues to develop the versatility of its products. Schultz’s idea is that they allow you to engage in as many sports and other activities as possible. Today, the Moto Knee system can be used for snowboarding, skiing, cycling, off-road motorcycles and ATVs, as well as strength training, horse riding and water sports. The list continues to expand, with BioDapt leading new research and development to help those who have been unable to live a fulfilling life due to physical disabilities.
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