Amputees who are inspired to start out as runners after watching the Paralympic Games will be given free trials of state of the art prosthetic legs, it has been announced.
A leading manufacturer of prostheses, which is providing support to athletes with amputated legs at the Games, said it hopes to help people who have never run on a prosthetic leg to get into the sport.
“People who see the Paralympics and think ‘I want to try running’, this is will give them a chance to see if they like the limb before they potentially end up with a white elephant in the corner of their living room,” said John McFall, who competed for Team GB at Beijing 2008. He added: “How many people joined a gym in January and have rarely gone back because it was not right for them? This is an opportunity for people.”
The German firm Ottoblock Healthcare has pledged to loan the limbs, which are specially adapted for sport, to amputees who express and interest to their prosthetist. The firm is the official technical service provider to the Games. Its managing director said: “we are expecting a rise in people looking to try new sports following the Paralympics and this new sport prosthesis is a great solution for above-knee amputees living active lifestyles, but it can also be used for sports that involve running, such as long jump, high jump and javelin.”
At the launch of the company’s newest prosthetic leg designed for sport, its director for technical trends Andreas Samson promised it would sit down with amputees who express an interest in sport and their physio and help them decide what is best for them, including a free trial of the limb, which costs upwards of £3,000.
The company hopes to get more amputees involved in recreational sport. But, despite the success of athletes like Oscar Pistorious, its head of research and development insisted yesterday that there was no work on a prosthetic limb which could better the functions of a healthy human limb.
Dr Michael Hasenpusch said that the rules requiring prostheses used in the Olympics to be mechanical meant that there was no way they could replicate the technology. He said that the prosthetic limb can only return the energy which is given to it by its wearer, it cannot be active like a human limb. So, it would require extra technology we are not allowed to use, if it were even possible.