Prosthetics in Sports

The incredible advancement of prosthetic technology in the recent years has improved the lives of active citizens and competitive athletes. In addition, it has caused a huge debate in the international sports community. The development of highly effective energy-storing lower-limb prosthetic devices, most importantly the Seattle Foot, “has allowed Paralympic athletes to compete at levels that rival the able bodied.”[1] It seems that in heavily competitive sports, technologically advanced prosthetic devices, stemming from the Seattle Foot, have given an advantage of some amputees over able-bodied athletes. The J-shaped blade used by advanced athletes are not used in everyday wear and are only effective at high-speeds. Most athletic amputees that use the about $18,000 J-shaped blades, also use prosthetic devices like the Seattle Foot.

The comprehensive video below discusses double leg amputee and paralympic track star Oscar Pistorius in his struggle for his right to compete in the Beijing Olympics. (Video is around 11 minutes)

[1] Laura L. Smith, “Technology Aids Advances in Prosthetic Limb Development,” Jacksonville Business Journal, (April 2, 1999): 9.

Video: Associated Press. “CAS Says Pistorius Can Race Against Able-Bodied Athletes.” ESPN: Track and Field. (accessed April 12, 2009).

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