Researchers at Bournemouth University have been looking at the impact of lower-limb prosthetics on competitive running, specifically looking at whether athletes with prosthesis are at an unfair advantage when running against athletes without prosthetics.
The last two Olympic Games in both Beijing and London have had some controversy attached to them regarding the role of prosthetic limbs used by athletes with a lower-limb amputation.
In 2008, South African Oscar Pistorius ran against able-bodied athletes and obtained an Olympic Qualification time in the 400m. In 2012, he changed the way disability is viewed by the world by participating in both the Olympic and Paralympic Games in the same year. Controversy surrounds the impact of the prosthetic limb technology used by lower-limb amputees. Hossein Hassani, a researcher at Bournemouth University involved in the project, said on behalf of his colleagues, “These prostheses typically involve the use of composite ‘c’ or ‘j’ shaped prostheses and whilst often dubbed ‘Cheetahs’ by the media, are merely a form of energy storage and return springs.”
Previous research has looked at how this technology is perceived by the sports stakeholders and through applying basic engineering