Panel discussion

Panel discussion "An advantage through a prosthesis (or not)!?"

Friday, September 15th 1 p.m. until 2:15 p.m.

The panel discussion tackles a very up-to-date sport scientific topic, with the aim of highlighting the two sides of innovation and technology. The following questions are to be discussed and, at best, also answered:

  • Is it technologically possible today to construct prostheses in such a way that they function just as well or perhaps even better than human limbs?
  • Is it ethically justifiable to compete with such prostheses in the competition against non-prosthesis wearers?

The question of sports policy and societal future thereby results in questions:

  • Is it possible to compare the performance of disabled and non-disabled athletes? If so, how could this be adapted for competitions? If not, how would inclusion in competitive sports look?

As an impulse and for a better understanding of the content, two scientists, Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Potthast (Biomechanics, DSHS Cologne) and Prof. Dr. Michael McNamee (Sport ethics, Swansea University) will each explain their perspectives at the beginning in short presentations.

Both experts will then present their positions on the subject of "An advantage through a prosthesis (or not)?" Together with the athlete Markus Rehm (Paralympics Gold-medal winner) as well as the President of the German Disabled Sports Association (DBS), Friedhelm Julius Beucher, as sounding boards, a discussion will be carried out in the auditorium.

With this event, the complex topic of the "Innovation and Technology" congress will be addressed especially in a specific questionnaire and the potential for future research will be presented.

Discussion members on the podium

Friedhelm Julius Beucher

Friedhelm Julius Beucher has been President of the German Disabled Athletes Federation (DBS) since June 2009. In this position he was at the same time delegation leader of the German Team during the Paralympic Games 2010 in Vancouver, 2012 in London, 2014 in Sotschi and last of all also 2016 in Rio de Janeiro.

Prior to this, Beucher was already Chairmen of the Board of Trustees in the German Disabled Athletes Federation from 2004 to 2009. In addition, he was Vice president of the Special Olympics Deutschland from 2005 to 2009. The roots for his commitment of many years to the topic of disabled sports stem from around the beginning of the 1990s. At that time, as a Member of the German parliament and a carrier of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, he has attended nearly all Paralympic Games since 1992 and has supported initiatives for the disabled sports in the German Bundestag since 1992.

In 1990, Friedhelm Julius Beucher, who has been a member of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) since 1967, was elected to the Bundestag, a member of which he remained for twelve years. Today's present DBS president was also the chairman of the Sport Committee of the German Bundestag from 1998 to 2002. At the beginning of his professional career, he first worked as a elementary school teacher, then as school director and then finally even returned to his original profession once again after his political career: until his appointment as a restless president of the German Disabled Athletes Federation he was active as a rector of the integrative Montanus School in Burscheid. He now supports the interests of athletes with handicaps.

Prof. Dr. Mike McNamee

Mike McNamee is a professor for applied ethics at the University for Technology and Director of the Research Institute for Ethics and Law at Swansea University, Wales, UK. He has completed both his studies of philosophy and in the sports sciences. In the past 25 years, he has propelled the field of sport ethics as international research field.

At the present, Professor McNamee is an author or editor of more than 150 articles and essays, and of 16 books, the last of which was "Sport, Medicine, Ethics" (Routledge, 2016), and co-author of another book, "Bioethics, genetics, and sport", which is related to this. He is a grounding editor of the international journal of "Sport, Ethics and Philosophy" and CO-editor of the Routledge book series on "Sport Ethics". His work on such topics as anti-doping, bioethics and eating disorders in sports was financed by different national research councils and by the European Commission. He is program director of a consortium of the European universities in a new Erasmus+ financed master course of studies on sport ethics and integrity (

Prof. McNamee is member of numerous national and international committees such as the European Academy for Sports Sciences, the International Council for Sports Science and Movement Education, as well as a current member of the ethics committee of the WADA.

Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Potthast

Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Potthast studied physics at the University of Cologne and sports sciences at the German Sport University of Cologne. In the year 2005, he attained his doctorate in sports sciences at the German Sport University. Following his activities as a Senior Researcher at the Institute for Biomechanics and Orthopedics at the German Sport University, Potthast changed to the Institute for Sport and Sports Sciences at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), where he obtained a professorship in movement science and biomechanics. Since August 2012, Potthast has been active in clinical biomechanics at the German Sport University of Cologne. His primary research concentrates particularly on stress and the reaction of the human musculoskeletal system to such stress. His principal focus is on the research of reciprocal effects between the musculoskeletal system and the technology in sport, as well as on clinically-relevant research issues. Research on Paralympic sports and sprinting and jumping with prostheses is generally a logical consequence of this profile.

Prof. Potthast is at present a chairman of the Footwear Biomechanics Group (FBG) and has been working as a vice-president for public relations for the International Society of Biomechanics in Sports (ISBS) since 2010. This year he is the organizer of the 35rd International Conference on Biomechanics in Sports of the ISBS.

Markus Rehm

Markus Rehm is an absolutely exceptional athlete in Paralympic sports. As a 14-year old wake-boarder he lost his right leg below the knee in an accident during the course of wakeboard training in 2003. However, he quickly returned to the sport once again and became the German vice-youth master in wakeboarding in 2005. Afterwards he dedicated himself ever more increasingly to track-and-field events and did so with success. As a three-fold paralympics champion, world record holder in the long jump as well as World and European champion he is currently without question the non-plus-ultra in his starting class. Even if Paralympic sports has become more important, Markus engages himself strongly for the topic of inclusion and fights for the possibility of being allowed to compete against non-handicapped athletes in competition. Apart from his sporting career he is a master orthopedic technician, as well as a speaker for inclusion, motivation and the strength of willpower.

Host: Silke Beickert

Silke Beickert is a TV presenter for Nort-West German TV network Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg, rbb. She presents the daily sports news for the rbb. Furthermore, Silke Beickert works for RTL's regional program RON TV and presents the daily regional magazine. Prior to that, she worked as a news anchor for the sports news program Sky Sport News HD and for news program N24 as correspondent from the stock exchange in Frankfurt. Silke Beickert studied media and theater science at the University of Bayreuth, Bavaria.