Not only is this equipment unique for the range of motion it provides
users, it's also special because it was invented by a Laker alumnus.
Leonard Van Gelder graduated from Grand Valley with bachelor's
degrees in clinical exercise science and athletic training in 2009,
and a doctorate of physical therapy in 2013.
While working with athletes in physical therapy, Van Gelder felt the
equipment available to him didn't offer much range of motion for his patients.
"The ability to take weight off for a jumping motion wasn't
really something that existed," said Van Gelder. "Most
systems were either robotic or stationary, and the robotic system
couldn't move fast enough to allow for a change in direction."
Through his work at the time, Van Gelder connected with fellow
physical therapist Zachary Webster, '10. The team was able to develop
their prototype in the office of their employer at the time, and they
began to realize they may have something special in the works.
Webster had a background in dance, which Van Gelder said helped to
create the feature that allowed for expanded rotation in the AUX system.
Van Gelder also had experience in stunt work, which often involves
safety harnesses and training wires. That knowledge, along with
Webster's dance expertise, allowed the AUX to really begin to fully form.
Barb Hoogenboom, professor of physical therapy, kept in touch with
Van Gelder after he graduated and got word of his work on the AUX system.
"I saw the prototype about four years ago and I immediately said
that we needed one at Grand Valley," said Hoogenboom.
Hoogenboom saw endless possibilities for the system at the
university, with the flexibility of the AUX offering expansive
learning opportunities for students in the physical therapy program.
"The appeal to me as an instructor was that it's basically a big
erector set that can accommodate many people," said Hoogenboom.
"Its functionality is only limited by your imagination. It's also
very safe. An individual, even if they lost their balance, would never
fully fall to the ground."
Van Gelder is a busy man, currently running four companies. One of
which, Dynamic Movement Frameworks, is overseeing the AUX system. The
team plans to conduct research on the equipment in partnership with
GVSU to continue to perfect the product. They plan to expand the use
of the product nationally in the near future.
"We're thankful to Barb and others at Grand Valley who got on
board with the equipment and were so enthusiastic about it. It was an
area that was missing in rehabilitation and it's an exceptional
product that we're excited to get out there," said Van Gelder.