View Full Version : amputee sprinter

Ajit Chaudhari
05-16-2007, 08:25 AM
There was another article on this exact topic that appeared in IEEE
Spectrum in November of 2005:


I'm no expert on the topic either, although I am quite familiar with running
biomechanics....This really is an interesting question, whether an amputee
athlete could make up for the loss of some extremely powerful muscles like
the gastroc and soleus with elastic energy storage to end up faster than an
able-bodied athlete. It seems as though it could be answered with the tools
we have now, just for the sake of knowledge independent of whether you
believe that Oscar Pistorius should be disqualified or not.

Ajit Chaudhari, PhD
Assistant Professor, Orthopaedics
Director of Biomechanical Research, OSU Sports Medicine Center
The Ohio State University

I'm not an expert on this particular topic, but I am familiar with the
> area.
> I was wondering when I'd hear a story to this effect. I've heard that
> prosthetic feet have gotten so good that bilateral transtibial amputees
> would soon be able to run faster than the best non-amputees.
> The quote listed in the original message makes Mr. Pistorius sound like
> he has a bit of a persecution complex- what would the IAAF have against
> him in particular? Their intention is to keep the competition fair, but
> they should not ban him from the competition without some kind of proof
> that his feet provide an advantage. Their decision should be based on
> science rather than supposition, because Oscar Pistorius deserves a
> chance and because he will not be the last world-class amputee runner.
> If energy storing feet do provide an advantage they could be de-tuned to
> physiological levels (adding damping and/or mass) based on the
> experimental data in order to allow amputees and non-amputees to compete
> on a level playing field.
> Does anyone working in running energetics and/or prosthetics have any
> insight to add? Is there any pertinent data in existence that the IAAF
> could use? Is there any chance of data before the Summer of 2008? Please
> post any replies to the Listserv- this could be an interesting
> discussion.
> Brian Schulz, Ph.D.
> Program Specialist
> VISN 8 Patient Safety Research Center (118M) James A. Haley Veterans'
> Hospital
> 11605 North Nebraska Ave.
> Tampa, FL 33612-5738
> Phone: (813) 558-3944
> Fax: (813) 558-3990
> www.patientsafetycenter.com
> -----Original Message-----
> From: * Biomechanics and Movement Science listserver
> [mailto:BIOMCH-L@NIC.SURFNET.NL] On Behalf Of Ton van den Bogert
> Sent: Wednesday, May 16, 2007 10:59 AM
> Subject: [BIOMCH-L] amputee sprinter
> Yesterday's New York Times had an article about a double amputee from
> South
> Africa who runs 100 m in 10.9 seconds and appears to be still improving.
> There is debate whether he should be allowed to run in the 2008
> Olympics, if
> he qualifies.
> The IAAF says that his energy-storing feet are an unfair advantage.
> Others
> say they are not, since they only return 80% of the energy. There are
> calls
> for further research.
> The athlete, Oscar Pistorius, said "I think they're afraid to do the
> research.
> They're afraid of what they're going to find, that I don't have an
> advantage
> and they'll have to let me compete."
> What do the Biomch-L subscribers think? I know we have some subscribers
> who
> are experts on this topic.
> The full article is here:
> http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/15/sports/othersports/15runner.html
> --
> Ton van den Bogert, Biomch-L co-moderator
> http://www.Biomch-L.org
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