Prosthetics in the Olympics

Watching the Rio Summer 2016 Olympics showcased not only the incredible advancements in prosthetics available to athletes but also underscored that the only difference between Olympic and Paralympic athletes is that the latter are differently abled.

They’re all amazing!

Seeing the high level of competition among Paralympians is exciting and awe-inspiring. It was pretty sweet to see headlines around the world noting that four Paralympic 1500-m runners had times that beat the gold medal Olympic winner.

Will we ever see able-bodied and differently-abled athletes using new advancements in prosthetic technology compete against one another?

The issue hasn’t been settled since South African sprinter Oscar Pistorius wasn’t allowed to race against able-bodied sprinters. The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) banned Pistorius from racing in the Olympics with his blade prostheses.

German amputee and Paralympian long jumper Markus Rehm wears a blade prosthetic on his right leg. He sought to compete in the Rio 2016 Olympics but was denied because critics say high-tech prostheses give runners an unfair advantage.

Those in favor of allowing differently-abled athletes to compete against able-bodied athletes argue that their limitations should compensate for any alleged advantages. Many disabled athletes have to compensate for incomplete musculature due to amputations or being born with missing limbs, for instance.

Kind of interesting when you consider that able-bodied athletes don’t have to worry about injuries or pain from poor-fitting prosthetics or losing their prosthetic limbs during competition. US Paralympic athlete Blake Leeper still managed to finish second in the Paralympic Trials last July after losing one of his prosthetic legs during the 100m final in North Carolina. He crossed the finish line at 11.09 seconds. Talk about determination!

How important is a qualified prosthetist? How important is a well-fitting prosthetic limb? The answer was evident in reporting of the repair shop for Paralympic athletes at the Rio games. There was 100 techs and staff to help make, fit, test, and repair prosthetics for the competing athletes. Professional prosthetists make a difference for daily living and high-level athletic competition!

Whether your goals in life include high-level athletics or just enjoying daily living, our expert prosthetists are here to help you adapt to your prostheses.

Come and see us at Teter Orthotics & Prosthetics to for all your prosthetic needs. We’ve been providing expert orthotics services in Michigan since 1955 and have more than 20 locations, including Traverse City, Cadillac, Petoskey, and Marquette.

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