BE Board:Dinner Discussion/Sports Performance

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The focus of this discussion will be the biological aspects of sporting performance. We can discuss the areas in which progress is being made to improve sporting performance and what role biological engineers will play in those areas. Furthermore, what are the effects of that progress on professional and recreational sport and on Biological Engineering?

Areas of progress

  • More physiologically informed training methods
  • Improved treatment for injury
  • More ergonomic equipment, clothing etc.
  • Better (legal) drugs!

Relevance to Biological Engineers

Sports will be a place for biological engineers to -

  • Improve ordinary people's leisure time and health.
  • Find motivating research problems.
  • Display our discipline to the public.
  • Make money!

Questions/Facts to discuss

  • What should be legal and what should not?
    • Why is it illegal to have hemoglobin injections but not to sleep in a low-oxygen tent?
    • Who is responsible for determining what is allowable: individual leagues, international sports-governing bodies, or governments?
  • By making a positive contribution to sporting performance, can biological engineers ensure they have the goodwill of the public?
  • Will more and more "unnatural" ways to improve physical performance sour the publics opinion of biological engineering just GM foods soured people's feelings towards genetic engineering?
  • Will sports (both pro and amateur) be a lucrative market for biological engineers to cater towards?
    • Average value of an NFL team is $819million, 20,000 people run the Boston marathon each year.
  • Can biological engineers allow more non-professional sports people participate in their sport for longer, improving the health and well-being of society?
  • Marathon world records are not limited by genetics or oxygen transport capacity but by the bodies ability to withstand long-term repetitive loading.
  • Huge strides have been made in physiological training methods, nutrition, orthopedics, equipment development - what relevant areas are next in line?
  • LSU or Villanova?

[Prepared by Barry Canton & Nick Marcantonio]

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