University of South Florida



Josh Sparling is silhouetted after completing the obstacle course at the Walter C. Heinrich Practical Training Site. Sparling and 13 other wounded warriors are taking part in a University of South Florida School of Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Sciences research study funded by the U.S. Department of Defense. The project is evaluating how well different types of prosthetic feet work for the rigorous and agile maneuvers soldiers must perform on the battlefield – from running and jumping to dodging, crawling and climbing.

The study will ultimately benefit civilian amputees with physically challenging occupations, such as firefighters and police officers, or anyone with physically-demanding recreational pursuits, says USF assistant professor Dr. Jason Highsmith, who is leading the study. The double-blind randomized trial enrolls 28 physically fit people – half are high-functioning amputee soldiers and veterans, the other 14 (the control group) are non-amputees, including accomplished civilian athletes and law enforcement officers.

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