Paralympic athletes use technology for training

Computers collect data at Chula Vista training ctr

CHULA VISTA, Calif. - When it comes to world-class athletes.  Every step counts. 

"This is awesome, this gives us a lot of very important information for just the set up of our prosthetics," said U.S. Paralympic Athlete David Prince.

Prince has been on the U.S. Paralympic Track and Field team since 2009.  He lost his leg in 2002 after crashing a motorcycle he owned for five days.  He was driving over 100 miles per hour.

"I was a rebellious teenager, was very crazy was selling drugs at the time," said Prince.

He cleaned up his life and while he is still living life in the fast lane, now it's on the track.  He set a world record in the 400 meters at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London. He hopes the data collected by computers at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista will help him excel in future competitions. 

It's the first time technology has been used with Paralympic athletes. The goal is to help athletes be more efficient in their sport.  Plates called "force platforms" measure every force on the track by these athletes.

"So every time you hit the ground, if your center of gravity is a little bit behind your foot, it's going to slow you down.  Then you come over the top of your foot and you push backwards and you speed up again," said USOC Senior Sport Technologist Phil Cheetham.

They are studying the differences between a prosthetic leg and a sound leg.  Coaches mark the prosthetics and cameras capture images at a rate of 300 frames per second.

"So we can actually digitize all those little points to see how it deforms as it pushed into the ground," said Cheetham.

The data will help determine the proper fit while improving performance, longevity and avoid injuries.

"Doing your training the right way, the correct way, instead of just volume, volume, volume, is actually 10 times more effective," said Prince.

He hopes this data will help him improve and break his own world record in the 400.

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