Photo Credit: Tim Hipps, FMWRC Public Affairs, U.S. Army (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr
Approximately 1.7 million Americans live with limb loss. An exact international figure is unknown, but it is estimated there are more than 30 million people worldwide who require prosthetics or braces for daily living.
People lose limbs due to a variety of reasons, but the top three causes are disease (particularly diabetes and cancer), trauma, and war.
Amputees are one of six categories of disabled athletes eligible to compete in the Paralympic Games, which are held every two years, coinciding with the winter and Olympic Games, and which begin today in Sochi, Russia. The other five areas of disability covered in the Paralympic Games are cerebral palsy, intellectual disability, wheelchair use, visual impairment, and a broad category called Les Autres, which includes dwarfism, multiple sclerosis, and a variety of other disabilities. Athletes are then sorted by degree of disability into various classifications within each sport.
Learn more with these Science NetLinks resources:
- Reaching for Olympic Glory (K-12)
- Extending Human Ability through Technology (6-8)
- Diabetes: The Science Inside (6-12)
- EntryPoint! Publications (6-12)
- Roadmaps and Rampways (6-12)
- Science of the Summer Olympics: Engineering for Mobility (6-12)
- Science of the Summer Olympics: The Strength and Flexibility of Oscar Pistorius (6-12)
- Wheelchairs (6-12)