Elite long jumpers with below the knee prostheses approach the board slower, but take-off more effectively than non-amputee athletes

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The use of technological aids to improve sport performance ('techno doping') and inclusion of Paralympic athletes in Olympic events are matters of ongoing debate. Recently, a long jumper with a below the knee amputation (BKA) achieved jump distances similar to world-class athletes without amputations, using a carbon fibre running-specific prosthesis (RSP). We show that athletes with BKA utilize a different, more effective take-off technique in the long jump, which provided the best athlete with BKA a performance advantage of at least 0.13 m compared to non-amputee athletes. A maximum speed constraint imposed by the use of RSPs would indicate a performance disadvantage for the long jump. We found slower maximum sprinting speeds in athletes with BKA, but did not find a difference in the overall vertical force from both legs of athletes with BKA compared to non-amputees. Slower speeds might originate from intrinsically lower sprinting abilities of athletes with BKA or from more complex adaptions in sprinting mechanics due to the biomechanical and morphological differences induced by RSPs. Our results suggest that due to different movement strategies, athletes with and without BKA should likely compete in separate categories for the long jump.

Original languageEnglish
Article number16058
JournalScientific Reports
Volume7
Number of pages16
ISSN2045-2322
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 22.11.2017

ID: 3163921

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