by William Mann on July 14, 2013

The US Department of Defense identified that spinal cord injury research and development was of significant relevance for the improvement of function, wellness and overall quality of life of military service members. The Spinal Cord Injury Research Project (SCIRP) was established by congress in 2009 with additional support for the program in 2012.  This is primarily due to the fact that nearly a quarter of wounded military personnel requiring evacuation from the field suffer spinal cord or traumatic brain injury.  As well, 12,000 new cases of spinal cord injury occur every year in the North American civilian population.  Spinal cord injury creates physical, psychological and financial challenges to the injured and their families. Furthermore, spinal cord injury patients are at a high risk of developing pressure ulcers.

Many military personnel or those who fall under Veterans Affairs are wheelchair users, for a variety of reasons. This can include anything from battlefield blast injuries, spinal cord injuries, lifestyle diseases like obesity, or mental health issues. Many wheelchair users are set up in rehabilitation facilities and are being taught how to shift and perform exercises by occupational and physical therapists in order to prevent pressure ulcers. However, there is currently no device or system on the market that can facilitate, track, and analyze patient pressure relief. That is, until the SensiMAT for Wheelchairs.

The military has a large focus on reintegration of personnel back into the community after they perform their service. By preventing pressure ulcers, we can keep wheelchair users in the community where they belong.