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Competitive motivation increased home use and improved prosthesis self-perception after Cybathlon 2020 for neuromusculoskeletal prosthesis user

By Kirstin Ahmed

When one user of our neuromusculoskeletal prostheses competed in the Cybathlon 2020, an international competition for advanced bionic limbs, he not only trained intensely during the months leading up to the competition, but also continued using his prosthesis more often and dexterously even after the competition had ended. By looking at data saved to a memory card in the prosthesis, we discovered that he learned to control his hand with more finesse, and the skills he gained from training carried over into his daily life as he uses his prosthetic hand, wrist, and elbow at home. When asking him about his experience, he told us “I don’t feel like I have one arm anymore,” and explained that he felt his self-confidence had improved from participating in the competiton. We hope that these results will encourage clinicians to use competitions like the Cybathlon to encourage their patients to train with their prosthetic limbs and to regain more of their lost function in their daily lives.