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Zoo Camp Attendees Help Create Mobility Test for TSRHC

A researcher from TSRHC’s Movement Science Laboratory times a camper’s as she runs. Photography courtesy of the Dallas Zoo.

Children attending a summer camp at the Dallas Zoo, Texas, have been helping researchers at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children (TSRHC) develop a mobility test to measure the functional ability of young patients with amputations.

Researchers at TSRHC have decided to take the Comprehensive High-level Activity Mobility Predictor (CHAMP) and adjust its parameters to fit younger patients with amputations. To achieve this, they turned to the Dallas Zoo and its summer camp attendees for help. Camp attendees were put through a four-part course, similar to an obstacle course, which timed them as they performed various physical activities. One portion of the test included balancing on one foot with the other foot held over a small cone. The results from the summer camp children will be used as a base line for the new CHAMP test for young amputees. That way, a patient’s progress can be compared with others in his or her own age group, instead of relying on the original test designed for adults.

Since last summer, researchers have gathered the results of 275 campers ages 5 to 14, and they plan to test hundreds more campers this summer. Ultimately, they hope to have data from 100 children in each age group from 5 to 18, so the test can be comprehensive.