Case studies

Sporting Teen Gets a High-Speed Push

Release date: 11th May 2015

Charlie Bonner 

As a wheelchair basketball player, 16-year-old Charlie Bonner regularly attends physiotherapy sessions to improve his performance on the court.

He was referred by his physiotherapist to work with University of Lincoln Sports Biomechanics PhD researcher Franky Mulloy, who also runs onlincolnshire’s Louth Technology Hub, to analyse his technique. 

Charlie was born with the rare neuromuscular condition known as Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita (AMC). Charlie’s condition causes him to experience involuntary contractions around his joints, which affects all of his limbs and makes it difficult for him to walk.

Despite having to use splints and other aids to support his daily living, Charlie has managed to overcome the many challenges that come with AMC to become an accomplished wheelchair basketball player.

Always looking to improve as an athlete, the 1.5-point wheelchair basketball player has utilised the facilities at the Louth Technology Hub, based at the Meridian Leisure Centre, in an inventive and original way.

Through the use of the hub’s high-speed cameras, Franky was able to film Charlie in action and play back his movements in slow motion to assess his strengths, modified techniques and identify areas of weakness which could be improved.

“Being able to analyse my movements in such detail has enabled me to breakdown my shooting technique,” explained Charlie.
“It’s been a great opportunity to identify where my power is coming from when I shoot.

“Franky from the Louth Technology Hub was very helpful. He gave me useful advice on how to improve my skills and techniques to achieve greater consistency which will help me to play better.”

The cameras also managed to pick up on a problem that Charlie had been struggling to overcome: “They helped me identify why my back was getting sore when I was playing and I can now make adjustments to my chair to prevent this.”

Charlie, whose interest in wheelchair basketball was first sparked at the age of seven, currently plays for the Jaguars under-19 team and attends GB Training Camps. He has previously competed at the National Junior Championships and was a reserve for the Sainsbury’s School Games England Central squad.

“Last season I was presented with the Jaguars’ Most Improved Player award which was an amazing achievement for me,” added Charlie.

“I plan to continue improving as a player and I’m hoping to get drafted into the regional under-19s and play for the Sainsbury’s England Central squad.

“I would also like to be invited to train with the elite under-23 squad and pursue my ambition to play at national level.”
The equipment available at the onlincolnshire Technology Hub’s varies from high-speed video cameras to laser cutters and 3D printers. All of the resources can be used for a range of different purposes, from improving sporting performance or manufacturing processes to creating business cards and prototyping.

Charlie concluded: “The use of the high-speed cameras at the Louth Technology Hub has really helped me to improve as an athlete. As a result of the footage and advice from Franky, I now think about the shots I am about to make and check that my technique is right before I release the ball.

“I’m going to show the camera footage to my physiotherapist, who will also benefit from seeing my movements in slow motion. I will be working with the Louth Technology Hub in the future to assess my wheelchair pushing technique to try to get faster acceleration.”

For more information about Charlie Bonner visit: http://lincolnshiresport.com/charlie-bonner/

For more information about the Lincolnshire Technology Hubs, which are part funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), please visit: http://www.onlincolnshire.org/broadband-for-business/lincolnshire-technology-hubs