Alex Klein was diagnosed with epithelioid sarcoma when he was 8 years old, in June of 2008. His right foot was amputated in August that year. He received his first prosthetic leg in December, 2008. Alex still enjoyed being active in any way he could. He played flag football, basketball, bowling, volleyball, and baseball – all with the standard heavy, inflexible prosthesis, designed for inactive amputees. He was introduced to a program called GUMBO in 2009. GUMBO stands for Games Uniting Mind and Body and is a track and field program for youth with physical disabilities in Louisiana. After a few years, he was throwing the shotput, discus, and javelin, as well as running the 100, 200, and 400 meter sprints.
Until 2015, Alex had only a walking foot. He was amazed by what he saw others doing with running blades and knew that he could do better. He met the Amputee Blade Runners at the Endeavor Games in Oklahoma City and immediately knew that he wanted to be one of them. Alex was granted a running prosthesis by Amputee Blade Runners in 2015. On his first “trial run” on his new running leg, Alex shaved 20 seconds off his 400 meter time. It was like he could run freely for the first time in 7 years. Previously unable to run for distance, Alex completed his first 5K run. Alex is now a member of his high school track and field team, and has competed in the state high school meet for several years. He has competed at numerous national events, including the Paralympic Trials in 2016. He was named as one of 20 athletes to participate in the inaugural IPC Junior World Championship in 2017. His long term goals are to compete internationally in track and field and to be a Paralympic athlete for the 2020 games.
Alex says that ABR has completely changed his life. In only 2 years since being granted his running blade, he has become much more healthy and fit. He has participated in sporting events that he only dreamed of a short time earlier. His confidence has increased greatly. In addition, he has made many great friends all over the country. Alex enjoys being a member of “Team ABR”, and showing others what is possible with the right tools, a positive attitude, and hard work.