Wednesday, April 30, 2008

ESPN The Magazine article examines prosthetics and athletics

It had to happen.

With the continuing evolution of the quality and durability of prosthetics, and the on-going understanding and improvements of bionics, these facets of disability would come to impact the domain of competitive athletics. Has it come down to the point where an athlete with a disability is seen as actually having an unfair advantage over his non-disabled competitors?

The current edition of
ESPN The Magazine
Has an article examining this very topic. ESPN thought it was important enough to deserve the front cover, so I believe it merits attention here as well.

That article includes photos and presents a good, thorough discussion about the pending battles in athletics. These battles are for meetings among the ruling athletic authorities, and the outcomes won't all be decided on the playing field.

While the tide has already begun, with the International Olympic Committee ruling against a runner who runs with prosthetic legs, saying the Cheetah Flex-Foot legs gave him an unfair advantage, there is much more to examine. In coming months and years, officials will have a lot more to consider . There are so many factors to be discussed and ruled upon on this subject. Athletic organizations, both amateur and professional will need to address this as time moves forward. Technological advances do not diminish, they only continue to improve. And, with that improvement will come more people using the enhancements to excel at their chosen sports.

The following information is from the article’s news release:

The prosthetic-enhanced athlete will be able to run faster, jump higher and pitch harder than mere mortals…this brave new world is just around the corner and the cover story for this week’s issue of ESPN The Magazine, on newsstands Wednesday, April 23. From an idea lab at MIT to a prosthetic design company in Iceland to amputees who see no limits to what their bodies can attain with prosthetics, ESPN The Magazine’s Eric Adelson, in “Let ‘em Play”, takes readers
into the lives of athletes who represent the future of sports and prosthetics, and demonstrates that new ideas and technology will change the way we think about what is possible for the human body to achieve.

“In many ways, we are facing the advent of the bionic man,” says MLS commissioner Don Garber. “It’s something that our industry has to start thinking about.”

Bioethicist Andy Miah predicts: “I suspect it will become an imperative and the responsible course of action to reinforce one’s body through prosthesis when competing at an elite level.”

This issue showcases split covers featuring Iraq War veteran Jerrod Fields of Chula Vista, Calif., who uses a leg prosthetic to play basketball, and Anthony Burruto of Orlando, Fla., whose double leg prosthetic keeps him excelling on the baseball field.

No comments: