Are Advanced Prosthetics an Unfair Competitive Advantage in Sports

Are Advanced Prosthetics an Unfair Competitive Advantage in Sports

Are Advanced Prosthetics an Unfair Competitive Advantage in Sports?

After meeting Oscar Pistorius at the Global Sports Forum Barcelona 2012, Sports Techie asked this question to our first ever guest blogger, Claudia Somerfield, in hopes to better understand this issue from a third party perspective with the Olympic and Paralympic Games in London soon to begin.

Oscar Pistorius at Global Sports Forum Barcelona

None of the following blog below is written by Sports Techie, LLC or anyone affiliated with our sportsbiz, therefore, these are not my opinions, they are 100% that of the author. Enjoy!

Are Advanced Prosthetics an Unfair Competitive Advantage in Sports?

Prosthetics is one unique technique in medicine that employs the usage of an artificial device, which aids the movement of a disabled individual. It implies that an artificial device is implanted in the place of a missing body part and it serves to fulfill the absence of the specific body part. Say for instance, a person with a missing or amputated right hand can find himself/herself a replacement by a prosthetic hand along with its nail plates. They can also take complete advantage of the prosthetic hand in the same manner as a normal individual would do. This prosthesis can be implemented for any disabled individual who is either born defective, or has a limb, or any other organ lost due to an accident or some infection..

Prosthetics is an advantageous technique from the point of the disabled as it helps them to lead a normal life as any individual would do. There are many instances where prosthetic techniques have been used, and a few noteworthy instances would be the artificial valves in artificial heart, artificial eyes, artificial limbs, and more. These artificial devices mimic the function of the missing body part in a manner such that the entire physique and organ system of the disabled work efficiently as that of normal individuals. Apparently, prosthetics have made a remarkable difference to the disabled by helping them compete in the Paralympics and Olympics as well.

Conflict raised

There was a conflict raised due to advanced prosthetics in the year 2007. This was primarily due to Oscar Pistorius, a South African sprint runner, who was extremely passionate towards sports ever since his childhood. Oscar Pistorius faced a double amputation of fibula in both the legs. To enable the sprint runner resume his normal life, his legs were replaced by prosthetic crescent blades called the “Cheetah Flex-feet” made of carbon fiber. These blades were attached to his knees and it thus helped him to participate and succeed in the Paralympics .

Later, after his many achievements in the Paralympics, he participated in the South African Championship conducted in March 2005 and sustained himself the sixth position in the 400-m event. It was then that he was invited to participate in IAAF Golden Gala event conducted at the Olympic stadium in Rome. In this event, he competed against able-bodied athletes and achieved the second position in the 400-m race, which he accomplished within 46.9 seconds. The success was extremely stunning as it is not easy for a disabled athlete to compete against able-bodied athletes and achieve a remarkable status. It was this event that triggered the conflict and raised the big question of “advanced prosthetics in sporting events”. Further to this, Oscar Pistorius was banned to participate in the Olympics during the year 2008. The question raged among many, where they stated that the prosthetic blades delivered him the extra stamina to succeed in the event at Rome.

However, after a series of tests conducted by a biophysicist, it was clarified that Pistorius achievement was solely attributed to his ability and not the prosthetic blades that were implanted. It was also clarified that the blades were meant to perform the activity as that of a normal body part and aided nothing more than a mere replacement. Later, Oscar Pistorius was permitted to participate in Olympics and other sporting events thereafter.

Nevertheless, it can be concluded that prosthetics provide the right sort of ability to the disabled in performing their normal activities. It can be termed as an advantage that tends to support and help them compete against normal individuals, but does not deliver an extra boost to win over them.

About the author: Claudia is a blogger by profession. She loves writing on luxury and technology. She recently read an article on unique autosports that attracted her attention. These days she is busy in writing an article on sports car from old sports part.

A huge thank you to Claudia for her perspective as our first Sports Techie guest blogger. If you are interested in writing a blog for us in the future, contact me at: broble@sportstechie.net.

See you when I see you, Sports Techie

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