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Disabled Runner may soon be labeled a cheater

Discussion in 'The Atrium' started by CaliforniaCheez, Mar 23, 2007.

  1. CaliforniaCheez

    CaliforniaCheez Cheesehead

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    http://www.theherald.co.uk/sport/headlines/display.var.1276730.0.0.php

    Having no legs is generally considered a handicap when you're running, but the International Association of Athletics Federations will take steps this weekend to ban a double amputee from their events.

    Oscar Pistorius relishes being called the "fastest man on no legs". His feats have attracted the attention of actor Tom Hanks, who is said to be interested in purchasing the rights to his story.

    The South African won Paralympic 200m gold in Athens and holds the world record at 100, 200 and 400m. On Sunday he was second in his national championships, with a time of 46.56 seconds (400m). No able-bodied Scot on two legs has run as fast since 2003, and this time would have won the Scottish championships 20 times in the past 21 years.

    The event in Durban was South Africa's able-bodied trial for the World Championships in Osaka this year. Though just outside the qualifying standard, it presents a possibility that he could be selected for Japan. He also hopes to run in the Beijing Olympics next year.

    However, the Pretoria student will almost certainly be disappointed. Nick Davies, head of communications for the world athletics body, said yesterday their rules were under review as a direct consequence of his achievements, and acknowledged a potential legal challenge.

    "Our medical, technical, and juridical commissions have looked at this," said Mr Davies, speaking from Mombassa. "There's no rule to exclude someone with a prosthetic at the moment, but our council will discuss it this weekend at the World Cross-country Championships. Without pre-judging their deliberations, it seems likely we will exclude any artificial technological aid. We already limit the length and number of spikes on running shoes."

    The Pistorius argument is about the length of his carbon fibre prosthetics, and the stride-length they generate. They give him a height far beyond what he would have had if his legs had been normal. The Cheetah, an artificial limb made by Flex Foot (which helped one-legged Scottish volleyball player David McCrae play able-bodied sport for his country) was said by one of Pistorius's victims to be like "being chased by a giant pair of scissors". His stride is still getting longer at the finish.

    Pistorius rejects the suggestion his blades are longer than necessary, or that they give an advantage, but critics say the Paralympics already exist for disabled athletes
     
  2. longtimefan

    longtimefan Super Moderator Staff Member Super Moderator

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    This is what he artificial limbs look like and story behind it

    [​IMG]

    Read the story
     
  3. Pack93z

    Pack93z You retired too? .... Not me. I'm in my prime

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    Well being an amputee, ATV accident my Junior year of HS, there are lots of different styles of legs and lots of athletes that prove the myth that you can't compete with non-amputees to be false.

    My senior year, I wanted to play again, however the WIAA would not allow it for my safety and others. However in practice I could line up and more often than not defeat the blocker without issue.

    So I can relate with this story and commend anyone to fight against any rulings that take away the rights of people that have done nothing wrong, but live with a disability, a gender, race or any other trial in life.

    I challenge any one to wear a prosthetic and say there is a advantage to having it versus not. The final arguement in the original posted story is laughable.
     
  4. trippster

    trippster Cheesehead

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    PackZ who makes your leg?

    My dad is a legend in the Orthotic and Prosthetic industry. He was President of AOPA and has been in the business for over 40 years. He currently works for a german company with USA based offices out of Minneapolis, MN called Otto Bock.

    I can see not allowing the prosthetic in some sports for the safety of others. It is a tricky and slippery slope. If you look at his leg in the picture, the flex foot acts like a spring. My guess is that you can get the right type of spring and it would produce more spring than that of a human leg. That being the case, it would indeed give him an advantage. Plus, from the picture, it appears he is a BK (below knee) amputee. That would give him a tremendous advantage over an AK (above knee)

    My dad was for many years, also a liason between the orthotic and prosthetic industry and the paralimpics. He said it is just mind boggling to se how well the amputees can perform.
     
  5. Pack93z

    Pack93z You retired too? .... Not me. I'm in my prime

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    I have a Flex Foot Ceterus with a Gaitmaster Mauch SNS knee unit, with a carbon fibre socket and breathe-able inner liner.

    For me it is a little different being above knee. However spending time with some below knee athletes, the added stress to the knee and quads is unreal. From personal experience and from published studies, an amputee expends just about twice the energy that an non-amputee does for each step. Now would that foot provide more "spring", yes it would, would the amputee expend more energy to control it, yes they would. Just a different muscle group.

    The foot shown above...
    http://www.ossur.com/?pageid=3547

    Imagine walking on stilts, that would be the closest comparison I have found. For an above knee amputee, put a hinge in the in stilt, and take a walk. Just like any other person or athlete, you can train the muscle groups to compensate for the sport or loss of limb to over come it. But to say it is an advantage is incorrect.

    But the human spirit is an amazing thing, no matter how high the wall you can find a way over it if you WANT TO.

    Bye the way, you can call me Shawn anytime:)

    Otto Bock is a very good company, more for the every day amputee but build dependable equipment. Tell him if they ever need a guinee pig for testing, I am 6'4" about 280 and stress the legs out to the max... from building houses to playing BB on leagues at night..

    LOL.. I promise I can break about anything out there.
     
  6. trippster

    trippster Cheesehead

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    Yeah, Otto Bock is mainly for the every day user. THey have a leg that is called a "c" leg. It has computers in the knee to know when you are using stairs etc and it helps compensate. costs 80-100k from what he has told me.

    My guess is that your prosthetist know my dad.

    I read one of the articles on the flex foot and they said that it can creat more spring than a human leg. Either way, what an amazing thing.
     
  7. Pack93z

    Pack93z You retired too? .... Not me. I'm in my prime

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    Yes it does create alot of spring, it I hop on the front of my foot I can elevate alot higher than off my normal leg. It is kind of fun in a way, but I can say that it is a bugger when you come down.

    The whole field is amazing, the C leg is really cool, but I havent found that 100 grand laying around yet, lol..

    But the one I have now is about 22,000 total cost of ownership:)
     
  8. cheesey

    cheesey Cheesehead

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    Wow.....this is one HECK of a topic. I haven't had to go through a loss of a limb, but it amazes me when someone can accomplish even MORE then someone with all their limbs can accomplish.
    Shawn, it sounds to me like you would be an inspiration to anyone that has to go through something like that!
     
  9. Raider Pride

    Raider Pride Cheesehead

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    An inspiration? Are you kidding me?

    Shawn is beyond inspiration, he is a Freaking Hero as far as I am concerned. As are all people who excel after any type of life changing event.

    So many people in this world live in the past, blame events from the past, or just have their own self pity party every day. Shawn's positive attitude seeps from his post, it exudes the attitude of a champion.

    The world needs more champions and less chumps.

    Shawn, you may have lost your leg but trust me on this.... You have a leg up on so many people who have never lost one.

    Attitude is everything!

    R.P.
     
  10. Raider Pride

    Raider Pride Cheesehead

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    Great food for thought Calli. One of the best atrium posts of the year.

    This is an interesting debate.

    The world record for a man with no legs in the Boston Marathon is 1 hour 18 minutes and 27 seconds.

    The world record for a man with two legs in th Boston marathon is 2 hours 20 minutes and 5 seconds.

    Now that is a difference of over an hour. Sure that is the wheel chair record, and if you ever saw these athletes they will amaze you. However the bottom line is.. it is indeed a wheel chair, and there is a reason beyond ahtletics that makes the wheel chair athlete more than an hour faster.

    I think what the governing body is trying to do is keep things on a level playing feild.

    Have any of you ever heard of a guy named Rick Hanson?

    He is an amazing human. Really amazing!

    http://www.rickhansen.com/
     
  11. cheesey

    cheesey Cheesehead

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    RP....i sure wasn't making lite of what he has accomplished! I agree 100% with you! I guess i should have elaborated on what i meant.
    What i mean is, there are lots of people out there that have to go through similar circumstances as he has, and they feel like their world is ending. Shawn could go and SHOW how he has overcome what many would see as a life destroying horror, and give them hope where they now see no hope. Instead of the pity party he could be having, he has faced a terrible situation, grabbed it by the horns and beat it. Others can learn and grow from what he has gone through. I'm sure he had his bad days too, and he can help others overcome it.
    I always feel there are reasons for everything that happens to us, there is a purpose to our lives. I myself am disabled, but have all my limbs. When i was first diagnosed, i went through the denial, and the "why me" feelings. Yet i have been able to help others going through similar problems to learn and deal with it. I still have days where i feel down, but then i see people that have it so much worse then me, and i feel embarassed for complaining.
    Shawn can help those that know what he has gone through. He IS a hero in my view too!
     
  12. CaliforniaCheez

    CaliforniaCheez Cheesehead

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    This guy has an amazing 400 meter time. Obviously, because he is competing for the World Championships.

    The story struck me as odd. This guy is participating within the rules and they may soon change the rules against this runner. I can't see him as a villan.

    I did not think that technology had come so far that artificial limbs were an unfair advantage in sports. There probably is some wierd politics involved in this situation.
     
  13. Pack93z

    Pack93z You retired too? .... Not me. I'm in my prime

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    Thanks guys for the kind words, and they are appreciated. It took a couple of years to allow myself to get totally past the whole end of my dream, to play professional sports. I trained my whole childhood to play a game and that really was the worst of the ordeal for me. Re-learning to walk again and learning how to do things a little different was the easy part. Determination was all that was required, and accepting that life isn't always fair.

    But after time, you start to look at the world a little different, for me it was about 2 years after the accident, and see other people that strive each day with conditions a lot worse than yours to succeed in life. You have a choice to either pick up the pieces and rebuild; or throw the towel in and accept less of a life.

    I truly wish more people were forced to stop and evaluate life, look how short it is, and treasure the important things in it. Rejoice in the life you have, accept that you can't control everything, give to others when you can, and drive to make each day fulfilling and happy as possible. Let the perceived injustices in life go, learn from your experiences and LIVE LIFE to the hilt. You only have one of them.
     
  14. cheesey

    cheesey Cheesehead

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    HOW TRUE Shawn!
    GREAT words to live by!
     
  15. Zombieslayer

    Zombieslayer Cheesehead

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    Pack93z - I thanked the topic for this post. I was at work when I read this and started getting all emo (in a good way). It made me realize I need to count my blessings more often.

    A sincere thank you for this post. And every single post in this topic. You guys are all good people.
     
  16. cheesey

    cheesey Cheesehead

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    Zombie.......sounds like YOU are a great person too!
    When we read things like this, and it STOPS affecting us, THATS when we need to worry.
    When we no longer feel or care for our fellow man (and woman) then we have dropped the ball as a people.
     
  17. Pack93z

    Pack93z You retired too? .... Not me. I'm in my prime

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    Yeah Zombie-

    You are most welcome, and thank you for the kind words.. And Cheesey hit the nail on the head, if the feel good stories don't affect you, it is time to re-evaluate your life and what is around you:)

    Hope all is good in Cali....
     
  18. CaliforniaCheez

    CaliforniaCheez Cheesehead

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    This runner is still making news. Check this link.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=466904&in_page_id=1770

    Pistorius himself can't see what all the fuss is about because he considers himself as just another athlete.

    "I'm not disabled," he says breezily. "I just don't have any legs."

    If this sounds like a story straight out of Hollywood, it will come as no surprise to learn that Tom Hanks is bidding to make a film about Pistorius, nicknamed the Bladerunner because of the carbon-fibre blades he attaches just below the knee.

    Made by a specialist firm in Iceland and known as 'Cheetahs', they cost £15,000 a pair and are the Ferraris of artificial legs.

    But if this story has a hero, it needs villains, too – which is where the officials of the International Association of Athletics Federations come in.

    Earlier this year the ruling body introduced a ban on technical aids, although it claimed the move was not specifically aimed at Pistorius.

    There is concern that the South African's prosthetic limbs might give him an unfair advantage, but there are substantial disadvantages, too: he has almost no traction if it rains; maintaining balance is exceptionally difficult, especially when cornering; and any fall at top speed means he will slide along the track, gathering bruises and grazes as if he were in a slow-motion motorbike accident.

    However, under pressure, the IAAF recently refined its position.

    Last month Pistorius was given the all-clear to run in international competition and his first major race will be at the Norwich Union British Grand Prix in Sheffield.

    There he will take on the Olympic and world champion, American Jeremy Wariner, and the Commonwealth champion, Australian John Steffensen, over 400m.

    The IAAF will keep a close eye on the race to monitor whether Pistorius's blades give him extra stride length or an unfair advantage in the final straight, before deciding whether they can allow him to pursue his Olympic dream.

    Some experts also claim he is spared the onset of debilitating lactic acid in the calf muscles, which causes fatigue in runners.

    But by lining up against Wariner, Pistorius has already won one victory.

    Never before has an amputee athlete been able to claim a place against the world's elite.

    His best 400m time of 46.56 seconds puts him only three seconds behind Wariner's best time.

    California Cheez comment- 3 seconds in the 400m is a lot. The guy is unlikely to be an Olympic medalist but he still has a good mark.

    Next weekend Pistorius could easily qualify for the South African squad at the world championships in Osaka, Japan, next month.

    From there, the Olympics are just a step away.

    "That will be the big story, when Oscar goes to the Olympics," his father Henke told The Mail on Sunday.

    [​IMG]

    It was Henke and his late wife Sheila who decided to amputate Oscar's legs when was 11 months old.

    He was born with a congenital foot defect that left him with no calf bones [fibulae] nor ankles, and just two toes on each foot.

    A series of major operations may have allowed him to walk, albeit with a pronounced limp, but after consulting specialists around the world, Henke and Sheila decided amputation was best.

    It was a heartbreaking choice, only settled when Pistorius's parents met some other amputee children.

    "What a revelation" said Henke. "We met a boy who played tennis for his school and who was a decent runner and swimmer.

    "But it was difficult. Oscar's little feet were very ticklish. He used to curl up and cry laughing when you tickled them. Then you have to take the decision to have them cut off and thrown in the dustbin."

    He pauses. "It's not easy. We still have a card where we wrote all the questions on one side and the answers on the other. It's not something I would wish on anyone."

    Henke cannot forget the day of the operation, walking on to the ward after Oscar had undergone three hours of surgery. He can still hear his son's whimpers.

    Not a baby's usual wail, but an agonising sound. "It was being pushed out," Henke says. "You could hear the pain."

    Within six months Oscar was walking with prosthetic stumps. By the time he was two he was showing signs of his destiny.

    "He would run 20 yards to a fence and back and was frighteningly fast," says Henke. "He always beat his friends."

    However, Oscar was subjected to cruel bullying.

    "When Oscar was three, he just had two spikes for feet," says Henke.

    "It was funny for the children. Once these two older boys started pushing him backwards and forwards until he fell over.

    "Oscar got up and they did the same thing again two or three times. I saw it and felt like ripping their heads off.

    "But I knew there would be lots of times when I wouldn't be there to protect him. It was very difficult."

    So, with the help of a punchbag, Oscar learned to fight back.

    "The next year the same two boys tried it again," says Henke. "And when Oscar fell, he grabbed the boy by the chest and kicked him on his chin with his prosthetic limb.

    "The guy fell down and screamed to high heaven."

    "It was the last of the bullying, and Oscar went on to enjoy an active childhood.

    With his brother Carl, now 22, he would go-kart, race and play rugby and football. With his sister Aimée, now 18, he would surf and water-ski.

    He once astounded the opposition in a school cricket match by going in to bat without pads.

    Oscar's greatest achievement to date was winning the 200m gold in the 2004 Athens Paralympics in a world record time.

    Watching was Dr Gerry Versveld, the man who had amputated his legs.

    "Gerry grabbed my hands and the tears were running out of his eyes," recalls Henke, who was crying, too.

    "He just said, 'Thank you! Thank you! This is the most amazing thing I will probably ever witness.'"

    But he could be proved wrong. If Oscar is allowed to run in the Beijing Olympics, that will surely be even more amazing.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  19. Pack93z

    Pack93z You retired too? .... Not me. I'm in my prime

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    In the end.. it turned out the correct way.. let him compete in the events.. I just don't see how they had a leg to stand on as far as preventing him from the events.. pun intended.

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/more/05/16/bc.oly.run.cas.pistorius.ap/index.html

    LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) -- Double-amputee sprinter Oscar Pistorius won his appeal Friday and can compete for a place in the Beijing Olympics.

    The Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled that the 21-year-old South African is eligible to race against able-bodied athletes, overturning a ban imposed by the International Association of Athletics Federations.

    CAS said the unanimous ruling goes into effect immediately.

    "I am ecstatic," Pistorius told reporters in Milan, Italy. "When I found out, I cried. It is a battle that has been going on for far too long. It's a great day for sport. I think this day is going to go down in history for the equality of disabled people."

    Pistorius still must reach a qualifying time to run in the individual 400 meters at the Aug. 8-24 Beijing Games. However, he can be picked for the South African relay squad without qualifying. That relay squad has not yet qualified for the Olympics.

    Pistorius appealed to CAS, world sport's highest tribunal, to overturn a Jan. 14 ruling by the IAAF that banned him from competing. The IAAF said his carbon fiber blades give him a mechanical advantage.

    A two-day hearing was held before a panel of three arbitrators at CAS headquarters last month. Pistorius now is expected to get invitations from track and field promoters across the world who want him to run at their meets before Beijing.

    Pistorius said he will be running in both able-bodied and Paralympic events before Beijing. His manager, Peet van Zyl, said the runner will compete in Milan on July 2 and the Golden Gala meet in Rome on July 11.

    "Oscar will be welcomed wherever he competes this summer," IAAF president Lamine Diack said in a statement. "He is an inspirational man and we look forward to admiring his achievements in the future."

    Pistorius holds the 400-meter Paralympic world record of 46.56 seconds, but that time is outside the Olympic qualifying standard of 45.55. His training has been disrupted by the appeal process.

    Even if Pistorius fails to get the qualifying time, South African selectors could add the University of Pretoria student to the Olympic 1,600-meter relay squad.

    Pistorius would not require a qualifying time and could be taken to Beijing as an alternate. Six runners can be picked for the relay squad. Pistorius also expects to compete in Beijing at the Sept. 6-17 Paralympic Games.

    The verdict also clears Pistorius to dedicate himself to competing at the 2012 London Olympics.

    "A lot of the time we've had this year we've devoted to the court case," Pistorius said. "Now when I get home, my time can be dedicated to training. I am going to have to start thinking about getting my body in shape in order to run those (qualifying) times. I am hopeful there will be enough time but it is going to be very difficult.

    "We have the opportunity once again to chase my dream of participating in an Olympics, if not in 2008 then in 2012."

    The IAAF based its January decision on studies by German professor Gert-Peter Brueggemann, who said the J-shaped "Cheetah" blades were energy efficient.

    Pistorius' lawyers countered with independent tests conducted by a team led by MIT professor Hugh M. Herr that claimed to show he doesn't gain any advantage over able-bodied runners.

    CAS said the IAAF failed to prove that Pistorius' running blades give him an advantage.

    "The panel was not persuaded that there was sufficient evidence of any metabolic advantage in favor of a double-amputee using the Cheetah Flex-Foot," CAS said. "Furthermore, the CAS panel has considered that the IAAF did not prove that the biomechanical effects of using this particular prosthetic device gives Oscar Pistorius an advantage over other athletes not using the device."

    Pistorius was born without fibulas -- the long, thin outer bone between the knee and ankle -- and was 11 months old when his legs were amputated below the knee.

    Pistorius' lawyer was thrilled by the verdict.

    "He simply has the chance now to compete fairly and equally," Jeffrey Kessler told The Associated Press. "We are particularly pleased that the decision is unanimous."
     
  20. CaliforniaCheez

    CaliforniaCheez Cheesehead

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    I think it is the correct decision. As I said in an earlier post his time is great (46.56) but the Olympic qualifying mark 45.55 is not obtainable.
    Unfortunately at that level of competition 1 or 2 seconds is huge.

    If he was running at say 42 seconds then there might have been a ruling but all around it is best to let him compete and he is not going to change the way the Olympic athletes are judged.

    It is just good politics to let it go.
     
  21. Since69

    Since69 Cheesehead

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    I'm normally a pretty nice guy, but I'll play devil's advocate on this one.

    I disagree with the ruling. It's clear that the prosthetics give him an unfair advantage. Pack93z, I admire you and your courage, and your story is an incredible triumph, but you yourself said that "it does create alot of spring, if I hop on the front of my foot I can elevate alot higher than off my normal leg".

    Honestly, I'm not trying to be a jerk here, but should someone with two of those be allowed to enter, say, a high-jump contest? Athleticism being equal (like between your left leg and your right leg), doesn't the prosthetic yield an advantage?
     
  22. Pack93z

    Pack93z You retired too? .... Not me. I'm in my prime

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    Not a jerk at all.. and it is a very valid question.. however I will try to answer the best as I can. There are certain advantages with technology over biology.. however the impact that this technology has on the other parts of the body equal the playing field out so to speak.

    I have an above knee. so it is different but years past I participated and was around contests with these type limbs.

    For me.. the energy is all displaced on my hip.. in talking with below knees they say the strain on the quads are unreal.. you have little in terms of lower leg to absorb the energy added to the force that you have placed on your knee to do what a normal persons ankle and calf muscles absorb.

    I have a flex foot.. while it is spring on the toe.. and absorbs some energy on the heel.. trust me.. every step you take with any force there is still a jar and strain that isn't natural.. you are always walking a little stiffer than a natural body part.

    Rule of thumb... a amputee expends about 1.5 to 2 times the energy to take a step than a normal person does.. spring or not.. the advantages are probably void or even to a disadvantage.
     
  23. Since69

    Since69 Cheesehead

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    Wow. I didn't know that. And since I'm fortunate enough to be unable to speak from experience I'll take your word for it. What that young man (and you) have accomplished is even greater than I'd imagined.

    Still, with the strides that medical science continues to make, it's easy for me to envision a time when prostheses will provide an undeniable advantage for an amputee over an "unimproved" athlete. I just think that - while the decision fits squarely in the "feel good" column - it's ultimately going to provide an unhealthy precedent for future cases of this nature.

    And if you really want to look down the road, I can also envision a cyber-olympics for enhanced athletes, where "normal" athletes wouldn't stand a chance.
     
  24. Pack93z

    Pack93z You retired too? .... Not me. I'm in my prime

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    Oh I have looked down the road and like what I see comming.. probably not for me but for future generations there will come a day... the "C" leg is the infancy of what prosthetic's will become.. once they can fuse the technology to the nervous system of a human being fluidly, then I will agree that the field would be swayed to the technology..

    It is a neat debate for sure..
     
  25. pack_in_black

    pack_in_black Cheesehead

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    ......Then they tell you you have to have this computer chip implanted in your forehead to buy groceries, or they'll chop your head off, and then an earthquake hits, and then the Four Horses show up.


    j/k.





    In all seriousness though, it's a feel-good story, one that should really be opened up for a lot more debate in the future, cause I honestly couldn't choose a side on this one as it went on. 93, your fact about energy expended by amputees was one I wasn't aware of. Good stuff, good reading.


    Also I think I saw somewhere that this kid is actually shooting more for a spot in the '12 games, which might explain his not-quite-up-to-par times. :shrug:
     

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