Athletic Assistive Technology for Persons with Physical Conditions Affecting Mobility

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Recent advances in technology have allowed athletes with physical conditions to perform at increasingly high levels. After the ruling that one such athlete had an advantage over “able-bodied” athletes before the 2008 Olympics, many question whether these technological advances have even augmented athletic abilities. Although much progress has been achieved, technology for “disabled” athletes must be far advanced to allow them to reach and surpass the ability level of able-bodied athletes. Here, we review the current state of assistive devices created to assist athletes with physical conditions affecting their mobility. We form a quantitative comparison between athletes with and without physical conditions, lay out recent advancements in the development of sports-related assistive devices, and discuss the implications of these devices. Using the Paralympics as a guide, this work serves as an overview of the current state of assistive technology for athletes with mobility conditions and a tool for future researchers attempting to bridge the gap between athletes with and without physical conditions.

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