Cooper Receives Rare Honor with International Paralympic Scientific Award for 2013-Quality of Life Technology Center - Carnegie Mellon University

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Cooper Receives Rare Honor with International Paralympic Scientific Award for 2013

Rory A. Cooper, Ph.D., Co-Director of the Quality of Life Technology Center and founding director of the Human Engineering Research Laboratories (HERL) at the University of Pittsburgh and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, is scheduled to receive the International Paralympic Committee's (IPC) 2013 Paralympic Scientific Award at its VISTA 2013 conference about equipment and technology in Paralympic sports – one of Dr. Cooper’s areas of expertise.

The IPC is the governing body for the International Paralympic Games - the same as the International Olympic Committee for its Winter and Summer Olympics.  It's Paralympic Scientific Award has been conferred every two years since 2005.  However, the award to be given on May 4 in Bonn, Germany will be the first time the honor is betowed upon an American researcher who also is a former Paralympics medalist.

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.  IPC Chief Executive Officer Xavier Gonzalez, in his letter announcing the selection of Dr. Cooper for the honor,  said it was “in recognition of [his] outstanding contribution to the Paralympic movement.”

“The Paralympics have been an important aspect of my life for more than 30 years,” Dr. Cooper said. “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.”

A U.S. Army veteran with a spinal cord injury, Dr. Cooper was a bronze medalist at the 1988 Seoul Paralympics in wheelchair relay racing and continues to compete, winning five golds in swimming at the National Veterans Wheelchair Games last summer. He is internationally renowned for his expertise in assistive technology, wheelchairs and the Wounded Warrior Project, along with his contributions to research and science in those fields.

In addition to his role leading the QoLTbots Testbed Systems for the QOLT Center, Dr. Cooper is a U.S Department of Veteran Affairs Career Scientist and the founding director at HERL, a VA Rehabilitation Research and Development Center of Excellence in partnership with Pitt.  He is a distinguished professor and FISA-Paralyzed Veterans of America Chair in the Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology, the Pitt School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences. He holds secondary appointments as a professor of bioengineering, mechanical engineering, physical medicine and rehabilitation and orthopaedic surgery at Pitt.

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By: Michael Lain, Mil72@pitt.edu, 412-822-3663