There is currently a spotlight focused on current and future biomedical research to determine where gaps exist and where future efforts should be placed. The CWVC Warrior Challenges are designed and planned to fill these gaps by expanding both a basic knowledge of each of the fields and solving specific practical problems encountered by our Challenge Warriors.
CWVC Research objectives are to advance applied sciences associated with orthotics & prosthetics (O&P), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and psychological trauma (PTSD); field research being the heart of CWVC Challenge expeditions. The 2011 scientific research on Alaska’s Mt. McKinley, for example, advanced knowledge in prosthetics and double lung transplant physiology. The 2012 Packrafting Challenge expedition in Alaska was designed to study the impact of wilderness experience and isolation on psychological trauma and TBI treatment. The 2013 Kilimanjaro Research Expedition studied the impact of high altitude mountaineering on lower limb amputees, psychological trauma (PTSD) and TBI patients while the 2013 Grand Canyon Research Expedition studied the effects of long duration high impact hiking in desert conditions on lower limb amputees and TBI patients.
We have conducted field research during Challenges such as anatomical reactions to changes in environment; the effects of stress, extreme weather and altitude on prosthetics, post traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury; and the effects of temperature change on overall pain levels, spastic moments in the lower extremity and hand function.
The following CWVC field research case studies have been recognized by the Explorers Club and the National Park Service as “firsts” in field research:
Taking Lung Transplant Physiology and Leg Prosthesis Research to Denali, June/July, 2011
The Impact of High Altitude Mountaineering on Lower Limb Amputees, Post Traumatic
Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury Patients, Kilimanjaro, 2013
The Effects of High Impact Hiking in the Grand Canyon on Lower Limb Amputees, 2013
The recruitment and vetting of qualified veterans (active duty and medically retired) for the field research are coordinated with Veterans Administration hospitals, Universities, U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) Care Coalition, and numerous referrals. Qualifications required to participate include: medical clearance by healthcare professionals; certification by physical therapists/prosthetists for properly fitted primary and alternate limbs; physical ability and conditioning to participate in Challenge expeditions; willingness to participate in research related to prosthetics, psychological trauma and TBI; commitment to the team; and commitment to visit local area VA hospitals and centers for the purpose of inspiring other combat wounded veterans.