BYU Prosthetic Design Competition wants to create weightlifting prosthetic for student athlete

Annaliese Curtis wins MVP during a D1 National Championship game in 2022. Curtis resigned from the BYU women’s rugby team this year as she prepares to graduate and take the Medical College Admission Test. (Annaliese Curtis)

The BYU 2ft Prosthetics Club is hosting their annual design competition, which will feature prototypes of a prosthetic for a former BYU student athlete.

Participants will present their projects April 4 for a panel of judges. The top three designers will receive a monetary prize, and the top prototype will be considered for further development.

A BYU student volunteers with the 2ft Prosthetics nonprofit. This photo was taken during a two week clinic in the Dominican Republic. (Heidi Hunter)

Annaliese Curtis, a senior studying nutritional science and a former member of the BYU women’s ruby team, will be the model for the prosthetic prototype. Curtis is an avid weightlifter, and was born with one hand.

The goal of the competition is to create a prosthetic that will allow Curtis to transition from a deadlift into an overhead press — a weightlifting move known as the “clean” motion. Currently, Curtis is able to perform both a deadlift and an overhead press but is unable to transition between the two.

“I don’t want my hand to be my limitation in my lifts, I want my muscle capacity to be my limitation in my lifts,” Curtis said.

Heidi Hunter, a senior studying mechanical engineering and the vice president of the BYU Prosthetics Club explained the goal of the club is to help students get design experience and see the impact they can make on others.

Members of the BYU prosthetics club and other volunteers working at a two week clinic in the Dominican Republic. 2ft Prosthetics has upcoming projects in the Philippines and in the Dominican Republic. (Heidi Hunter)

Hunter explained they hope to use the competition to spark interest in the club and their mission.

The club partners with 2ft Prosthetics, an organization that works to provide affordable access to prosthetics to underserved amputees around the world. The organization will be going to the Philippines in March of this year and the Dominican Republic in May.

BYU students have the opportunity to join these trips and work in a two week clinic, where they will help provide functional and affordable prosthetics to individuals in need.

The club will meet periodically until the competition to check in with participant progress. The competition is open to the public and will take place in the Engineering Building Event Space on BYU campus at 7 p.m. on April 4.

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