View Full Version : Re: amputee sprinter

Van Den Bogert, Ton
05-18-2007, 04:06 AM
I received the following reply from Frank Borg :

> I have not catched up w/ all the amputee posts -- but one
> thing that springs to mind is that amputee may have an
> advantage in having a lesser mass to drag around? I gather
> the prothese is quite lightweight thanks to modern materials.
> In sprinting the lower leg+foot has to do a lot of
> accelerations/breakings. I remember an investigation between
> African and European runners where they tried to find out why
> the Africans seemed to have a natural advantage -- a major
> finding was that Africans had a lighter leg-bone structure
> --> less mass to move around.
> The mass-hypthesis could be tested by adding mass to the prothese.

Thanks, and I apologize for not mentioning the mass difference. Someone
else brought it up also. I agree that this also must be studied, and
adding mass is an elegant way to do this.

There may be an issue of training. With added mass, the amputee athlete
may have to adjust some motor patterns and an acute experiment may give
a pessimistic performance evaluation. Elite athletes are often not
willing to train with an experimental device over a period of time, they
fear losing their finely tuned skills. This is a familiar problem in
sports biomechanics research.


A.J. (Ton) van den Bogert, PhD
Department of Biomedical Engineering
Cleveland Clinic Foundation


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