Dr. Rory Cooper has been elected as the recipient of the International Paralympic Committee's Paralympic Scientific Award and will receive the honor at the VISTA2013 Conference in Bonn, Germany, which runs from May 1-4. The award is given to an academic researcher for his or her contributions to research in the field of sports for persons with an impairment, and it serves to promote and encourage further study in this area.
Cooper is the founding director of the Human Engineering Research Laboratories at the University of Pittsburgh in the United States and has contributed to the Paralympic Movement as an athlete, coach, event organizer and sport scientist.
"It's just an honor to be recognized by the IPC, which is an organization I hold at high esteem. It has had such a significant impact on my personal life as well as professional life," Cooper said.
He has worked significantly to create and evaluate new sports technologies, advancing equipment used in wheelchair racing, handcycling, wheelchair tennis and seated throwing events.
"What I get a pleasure out of is training people with an impairment around the world on how to become scientists. That multiplies what I can do as an individual in the field," Cooper said. "I've been collaborating with countries around the world to bring that technology to places like Mexico and India as well as places like Europe and the United States."
Cooper's research has appeared in more than 270 scientific publications, 1,000 abstracts, 100 magazines and five books. He also holds five US patents for wheelchair adaptations to optimize propulsion in daily living.
Two of his main aims, he said, have been to help achieve equity in Paralympic competition as well as to increase participation in para-sport and maximize an athlete's potential.
Cooper, a U.S. Army veteran, was a bronze medalist in the wheelchair racing relay at the Seoul 1988 Paralympic Games and is known for his involvement in the Wounded Warrior Project and the National Veterans Wheelchair Games.
To be eligible for the award, candidates must have contributed through significant scientific publications related to the scientific study of sport for persons with an impairment in any discipline, have received national and/or international recognition for his or her work, and placed an emphasis on the practical application of research with direct or indirect benefit to the Paralympic Movement.
Registration for the VISTA2013 Conference remains open at www.paralympic.org/events through April 1.
The VISTA2013 Conference will draw some of the world's leading experts on technology and equipment in Paralympic sport to Bonn to discuss in-depth issues that made global headlines during the recent London 2012 Paralympic Games.
For more information about the VISTA2013 Conference, please visit www.vista2013.com.