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Lindsey Vonn suffers fractured knee in Soldeu fall

Lindsey Vonn suffered a hairline fracture to her left knee after a fall in Andorra on Saturday but says she could even be fit to race on Sunday.  The American, who has a history of knee injuries, started well in poor visibility but failed to hold a corner in the latter stages of the course and crashed off the piste in Soldeu.  The race was interrupted for around 10 minutes as Vonn lay on the snow surrounded by medical staff and coaches before being transported off the hill on a ski-stretcher.  The 31-year-old was unable to stand and was taken to an Andorra hospital, but despite saying she would not get a scan on the injury until Monday, Vonn is not ruling out competing in Sunday’s super-combined race at the same venue.  “Got caught in the soft snow today and crashed pretty hard. X-rays showed I have a hairline fracture in my left knee and will get an MRI on Monday,” Vonn wrote on her Instagram account next to a picture of her knee with a large ice pack on it.

“I will wait and see how I feel tomorrow to decide if I can race. Will keep you updated.”

The race had been due to start in mid-morning, but was delayed for three hours because of the difficult conditions, with strong winds and snowfall also forcing organisers to lower the start.  Chasing her fifth title, Vonn is leading the overall World Cup standings and was 23 points clear of Lara Gut of Switzerland ahead of the Soldeu race.  She claimed her 76th World Cup victory last month, taking her closer to the overall record of 86 held by Sweden’s Ingemar Stenmark.  The race was won by Italy’s Federica Brignone who went out early before the snowfall increased in intensity.  She clocked 57.33secs on a shortened course, 0.13secs clear of American Laurenne Ross and 0.37secs better than Tamara Tippler of Austria.  “When I went down it was really good,” Brignone said. “It was not the best conditions for the best racers, but I took advantage of my luck.”  Gut could only finish in 16th place, meaning that she took 15 points to move to within eight points of the stricken Vonn in the standings.

Sky News 27/02/16

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lloyds pharmacy

The ‘disruptive’ businesses trying to crack the disability market

The disability market is worth billions of pounds – and companies are coming up with ever more “disruptive” ways to break into it.  Last summer was one of those rare occasions on Dragons’ Den when someone pitches, nails the numbers and watches the Dragons try and outbid each other.  Then in a twist, the business owner rejected an offer of £70,000 for 35% of the company. The deal collapsed and she walked away with nothing.  Ellen Green from Blue Badge Company, which makes stylish accessories for disabled people, forged ahead anyway and now plans to expand internationally.  “It started because my friend, who was in her 30s and very stylish, had just received her first blue badge for the car.  “She was looking for a wallet to keep it in but all she could find was a blue one with a white wheelchair on it – it was just like many disability products, clinical and dull and difficult to use – so she made herself one with polka dots on.”  The friends started selling them online, celebrating even if one was bought in a week, and slowly it evolved into a company which continues to challenge perceptions, including the way it operates.

Green says: “My first employee used to be a pattern cutter. My second employee was disabled.”

And so it expanded to a team of 16, offering jobs and training to those with disabilities or those who were carers. Green herself is not disabled.

“The majority of our employees are doing assembly, which they can do from home, and it became really apparent to me that this was crucially important – because so many have barriers to accessing employment, and we’re keen to break that cycle of unemployment.”

The mixed workforce are often the originators of new products, designing items they want, as well as need, including stylish walking-stick bags.  The company’s turnover has increased from £64,000 to £325,000 in three years, with its products aimed at disabled people being sold by retailers including Argos, Boots and Halfords.  “I think more retailers are coming to realise they have to offer products,” she says. “A fifth of the population has a disability and those people aren’t being particularly well served at the moment.”  Her appearance on Dragon’s Den helped highlight the strength of the so-called Purple round – the collective spending power of the nation’s disabled people, their friends and family, currently valued at £212bn.  The figure refers to the money spent on everything they want or need, be it clothes, holidays or necessary apparatus, and incorporates 20% of all consumers – a rather large niche market.

“Our products are as sexy as disability gets,” Green says. “We’re cheeky and recognise this gap for practical solutions with bright designs which say more about someone’s personality than their disability.”

But she says selling the concept has not been easy.   “If you’re starting as a disruptive company and challenging the status quo, which we are, it’s certainly very hard work and I’ve learned to react as positively as I can.  “There is some resistance, but I hope we’re going to start breaking down those stigmas and preconceptions.”  She describes her company as “disruptive” because she says it actively challenges retail companies and what they consider the norm, as well as insisting their products get equal promotion.  Matt Wadsworth from London is the director of Good Food Talks, an app which enables restaurants to create audible menus.  “I’ve been blind since birth so I’ve always been entrepreneurial, it’s about solving problems,” he said.  “I think in some ways as an entrepreneur you’re in a good position if you’ve had to deal with a disability, as business is tough.”

The app is free for users, with companies paying an annual subscription, and it is currently available in 1,000 venues including Carluccio’s, Nando’s and Pret A Manger, with the ambition to expand into America.

“We found that people want to use their own device and access their menu with their iPhone or iPad, and restaurant websites are really inaccessible… so there was an opportunity to bridge the gap.”  Wadsworth says his app is mainly used by visually impaired people but can help people with dyslexia and those who need more light too.

“We’ve got access to over 100,000 users and Nando’s are seeing about 1,000 hits a month and we can keep menus up to date in real time.”  But there were challenges to overcome.  “You’ve always got to explain the need for it and at the beginning that was quite difficult, but you’ve got to be very confident and believe in your idea.”  Wadsworth said he believes many businesses just don’t think about accessibility, but he is positive that they can be educated.  Lloyd’s Pharmacy is one retailer which has reacted to a “growing demand” for accessibility products, opening six stores called Betterlife which only sell items to support independent living – from scooters to kettle tippers.  They say they are accessible stores created with “usability and comfort in mind” and that they work with those “who have first-hand knowledge and experience” of what is needed.

 

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Ambulance

South East Coast Ambulance Service (Secamb) chairman has been sacked

The scandal-hit South East Coast Ambulance Service (Secamb), is being investigated after it dodged targets in order to take extra time to assess some patients. Health regulator Monitor has reportedly told the chairman to go, the BBC has been told by multiple sources within the NHS. Monitor has denied this is the case and the trust declined to comment.  The watchdog said in a statement: “As part of our ongoing regulatory action, we asked South East Coast Ambulance NHS Foundation Trust to commission a detailed review of the Red 3 project, including the way decisions were made about it.  A Secamb spokesman said: “It is not appropriate for the trust to comment on the position of any individuals at this stage.”  Meanwhile the position of the chief executive Paul Sutton remains unclear.

Last October it emerged Secamb, which covers Kent, Surrey, Sussex and North East Hampshire, delayed sending help for certain 111 calls, transferring them instead to the 999 system as part of a pilot project.  It did this to re-assess what type of advice or treatment patients needed and whether an ambulance was really required.  The trust defended the project but acknowledged the “serious findings” of a report into the practice.

How call handling was changed

Secamb provides NHS 111 services across the region and responds to 999 calls.  Some 111 calls were transferred to the 999 system to give Secamb more time for more urgent calls.  The calls affected were in the second most serious category – Category A Red 2 – which covers conditions like strokes or fits but which are less critical than where people are non responsive.  Under NHS rules, calls designated as life-threatening are supposed to receive an ambulance response within eight minutes.  The trust allowed itself an extra 10 minutes to deal with some calls by “re-triaging” patients in the 999 system.  At the time, health regulator Monitor said the trust had not fully considered patient safety.  It said the project was “poorly handled” and there were “reasonable grounds to suspect that the trust is in breach of its licence.”  It added a condition to Secamb’s licence so that if insufficient progress was made the leadership team could be changed. Speaking on Tuesday, Sussex Labour MP Peter Kyle said: “I called yesterday for the regulators to step in and get a grip of the governance of Secamb. It looks today that it has.

BBC 1.3.2016

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Kobe Bryant Achilles tendon rupture

Kobe Bryant Ruptures Achilles Tendon

Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant could be sidelined for up to nine months after tearing his Achilles tendon, the team said Saturday. An MRI later confirmed the tear.

“Bryant elected to have surgery to repair the torn left Achilles tendon,” the team said. “The successful surgery was performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache and Dr. Stephen Lombardo of the Kerlan Jobe Orthopaedic Group. Recovery time is expected to be a minimum of six to nine months.”

A ruptured Achilles could take up to a year to heal. Bryant has previously said that next season could be his last in the NBA. This is the 16th season in the league for the 34-year-old. Asked if the timetable means Bryant will be back next season, trainer Gary Vitti said on Twitter “that’s the plan.” Bryant reacted with disappointment on social media after the injury.  “This is such BS! All the training and sacrifice just flew out the window with one step that I’ve done millions of times! The frustration is unbearable. The anger is rage. Why the hell did this happen ?!? Makes no damn sense. Now I’m supposed to come back from this and be the same player Or better at 35?!? How in the world am I supposed to do that??

“I have NO CLUE. Do I have the consistent will to overcome this thing? Maybe I should break out the rocking chair and reminisce on the career that was. Maybe this is how my book ends. Maybe Father Time has defeated me.”

Later, Bryant called the injury the first step in a new challenge. “One day, the beginning of a new career journey will commence. Today is NOT that day,” he wrote. The post received more than 136,000 likes. According to an earlier tweet from the Lakers, Bryant could tell what the injury was before seeing a doctor. “I was just hoping it wasn’t what I thought it was,” Bryant said, according to the tweet. Bryant is the NBA’s fourth all-time leading scorer, and he currently ranks among the top three in the NBA in scoring this season, averaging 27.3 points. This season, he has averaged 5.6 rebounds, a team-high 6.0 assists, 1.36 steals and 38.6 minutes in 78 games.

CNN News

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Wearable tech may aid sporting injury treatment

You look at a sport like rugby, forward type players are tackling and being tackled multiple times in a training session or a match

Players are tackling and being tackled multiple times in a training session or a match

Wearable tracking devices are set to become even greater sports analysis tools for local athletes thanks to an algorithm developed by WA and Victorian sports scientists and mathematicians.

 

The researchers recently found accelerometer and gyroscope data from simple wearable tracking devices—in this case a Catapult S4—can accurately classify an activity athletes are doing using a certain algorithm. This finding could eventually help scientists analyse athlete’s movements in real time and gain a better understanding of the forces and injuries they experience. It isn’t just about detecting whether someone has been tackled, but understanding the magnitude of the tackle, Victoria University sports scientist Dr Sam Robertson says. Dr Robertson who initiated the collaboration with Curtin and Deakin Universities, says the information may lead to better injury treatment and prevention.

“You look at a sport like rugby, forward type players are tackling and being tackled multiple times in a training session or a match,” he says. “However it may not necessarily be the number of tackles that is doing the damage—it might be the intensity or magnitude of the tackle.

 

“With respect to injury, if we understand the types of movements players are undertaking at training then we can better understand how we expect them to respond to these loads.”

The algorithm’s ability to automatically classify training activities does away with the need to have scientists manually tracking athletes. “By using automated classification you take the burden off the practitioner being required to sit there and manually count the number of times a player runs, sprints or is tackled,” he says. Dr Robertson says the findings point to a logical next step in improving the information gained from wearable tracking technology.

“In high-level sport organisations have been obtaining a lot of data from wearable technologies over the last five or ten years,” he says. “It provides a real rich source of data potentially to understand the workloads of what athletes are experiencing.

“But up until recently most of that data has been used at a basic level as far as summary of how fast a player has run and the distance they travel. “We wanted to take that to another level and use the data to work out things like what types of movements people are doing rather than just how far they’re running.”

February 29, 2016 by Hamish Hastie, Sciencenetwork Wa
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