Throwing Prosthesis Puts Amputee Baseball Players Back on the Field

An adjustable throwing prosthesis designed for baseball players is the first to permit a relatively natural throwing motion, according to a press release from TRS Inc., the manufacturer of the device.

“Being involved with prosthetics, I’ve developed a lot of neat things over my lifetime, but [the Cobra] is probably the most exciting prosthesis I’ve ever developed,” Bob Radocy, chief executive officer of TRS, told O&P Business News. The Cobra is now in limited production.

When driving from Miami to Chicago, Radocy fell asleep at the wheel of his car, resulting in an accident that crushed his left forearm. He became an amputee at 22 years old and, as an avid baseball player, believed he would never be able to throw again.

“I was a lefty and so had written off the ability of ever throwing with a prosthesis,” Radocy said. “I had never been able to conceive a way where I could throw instinctively and naturally [with a prosthesis] until we started to work on the concept of the Cobra last spring.”

Inspired by the Hoopster, a rubber ring developed by a bilateral amputee for amputees who play basketball, the Cobra is a combination of an adjustable baseball capture and release system to control the ball’s speed and trajectory and TRS’s proprietary, energy-storing polymer technology. It can be used by most amputees who use arm prostheses and can be adjusted and tuned to match their individual prosthetic technology and throwing style.

“When I threw the first couple of balls and as my staff stood around, watching me … they couldn’t believe how natural it looked,” Radocy said. “It’s going to rebuild a lot of self-esteem for people who used to enjoy baseball in particular. People who lost their hand will actually be able to go back to playing catch with their kids, and, to those who never were interested in baseball, it gives them the potential to actually develop those skills.”

First production units will be delivered before this year’s end, and full-fledged production will begin in early 2013 for the baseball season in the spring. — by Casey Murphy


Disclosure: Radocy is the chief executive officer of TRS Inc.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.