The International Paralympic Committee announced that it will be awarding Rory Cooper, PhD, a professor in the Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology at the University of Pittsburgh, with the Paralympic Scientific Award, which recognizes an academic researcher for his or her contributions to research in the field of sports for persons with an impairment, according to a news release.
Cooper is also the founding director of the Human Engineering Research Laboratories, which is a Rehabilitation Research and Development Center of Excellence operated through a collaboration between the University of Pittsburgh and the Department of Veterans Affairs. He has created and evaluated new sports technologies which have contributed to the equipment used in wheelchair racing, handcycling, wheelchair tennis and seated throwing events and also holds five US patents for wheelchair adaptations.
Cooper is a retired US Army veteran and competed in the 1988 Paralympic Games in Seoul, South Korea where he won a bronze medal for wheelchair relay racing. He has since remained active in the Paralympic movement as a coach, event organizer and sport scientist and continues to compete in the National Veterans Wheelchair Games.
“The Paralympics have been an important aspect of my life for more than 30 years,” Cooper stated in the release. “Receiving this award parallels my participation in the 1988 Paralympic Games. I credit my involvement with the Paralympic movement as a significant contributor to making my life and professional career as rewarding as it has been.”
Cooper will be honored at the VISTA 2013 Conference, which will be held in Bonn, Germany from May 1-4.