Seminar Recording: Alena Grabowski, PhD

Seminar Recording Speaker: Alena Grabowski, PhD (Presented on 2/11/2022)

Title: Should athletes with leg amputations be allowed to compete in the Olympic Games?

Bio: Dr. Alena Grabowski earned her Bachelors degree in Kinesiology and PhD in the Department of Integrative Physiology at the University of Colorado Boulder. She then completed a post-doctoral fellowship in the Media Lab Biomechatronics Group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and earned a career development award within the Department of Veterans Affairs. Dr. Grabowski is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Integrative Physiology at the University of Colorado Boulder, a Research Healthcare Scientist within the Eastern Colorado Healthcare System in Denver, and directs the Applied Biomechanics Lab. Her research program is focused on determining the physiological and biomechanical effects of using mechanical devices such as lower extremity prostheses, exoskeletons, weight support systems, and sports equipment. She studies how these devices affect walking, hopping, running, sprinting, bicycling, and jumping in people with and without physical disabilities such as leg amputations.

Abstract: In her presentation, Dr. Grabowski will present results from a number of studies that have analyzed the effects of using running-specific leg prostheses on performance during running and sprinting. She will then present data pertaining to a study of an athlete with bilateral transtibial amputations who uses running-specific prostheses and has achieved a 400 m time within Olympic qualifying standards. These data directly address the World Athletics regulation that for an athlete with leg amputations to compete alongside non-amputees in events such as the Olympic games, that athlete must prove on the balance of probabilities that the use of running-specific prostheses does not provide him/her with an advantage compared to an athlete who does not use such prostheses.