Prosthetics in sports Prosthesis is an artificial device that replaces a body part Because of the improvements in technology, people with missing limbs can still participate in various sports
Types of Prosthetics
Sport Specific Prosthetics Most pro level competing people who use a prosthetic have custom made prosthetics These prosthetics are customized to fit a need for any specific sport
Prosthetics in Baseball For batting, a prosthetic must duplicate a wrist break to have a smooth unrestricted swing with a follow through The Power Swing Ring allows this
Prosthetics in Baseball Continued Fielding requires catching skills. A specialized body powered device that is pulled open with a cable action and closes when the player relaxes
Prosthetics in Swimming Many swimmers without missing limbs choose to not use a prosthetic Others use paddle like devices to conserve energy
Prosthetics in Running The most common type of prosthetic for running is a J shaped device used as a foot These prosthetics are the most common in all sports These prosthetics are known as Cheetahs
Controversy On January 14, South African sprinter Oscar Pistorius was banned from the 2008 Olympics by the IAAF(The International Association of Athletics Federations). Tests by Dr. Briggemann, a leading expert in biomechanics of running, showed that Pistorius’ prosthetics gave him an advantage over runners with human legs. His legs allow him to loose less energy with a larger energy return and less fatigue.
Controversy Continued When running, the human foot touches the ground and goes through a pause and then a push off phase. Energy is lost in this process. The tests by Briggeman showed that the Cheetahs lost 30 percent less energy than an average human would without a prosthetic would. Also, the Cheetahs would allow a sprinter to use 25 percent less oxygen than a sprinter without the prosthetics.
Prosthetics, the future of Sports? In Eric Adelson’s article “Let ‘Em Play”, in ESPN The Magizine, Adelson says ‘Shed a tear for the "disabled" today. Tomorrow they might pity you.’