My name is Brad and I was fitted with a running leg in April 2016. It’s been just over a year since receiving my running blade and words cannot describe how much I appreciate and enjoy being able to have the proper equipment to lead a more active lifestyle. As a 23 year old man who has had standard prosthetics since the age of 4 after losing my left leg in a lawn mower accident, my athletic capabilities were always limited due to constant pain and/or injury. These restrictions discouraged me from participating in most competitive sports growing up, although that never stopped me from running and playing sports with other kids like a normal boy. My athletic interests include running, biking, basketball, baseball, golf, and ultimate frisbee. I initially applied for a running leg after entering college where walking around campus with my standard leg put a strain on my residual limb with constant sores and/or injuries. After suffering a week-long period of pain when I was misdiagnosed by ER doctors with what should have been a dislocated knee, I knew I needed something different. I began to research better legs and luckily stumbled upon the Amputee Blade Runners organization. I persistently applied to the grant in hopes of receiving a better setup and finally heard the great news that I had been accepted to become a member of the ABR team. At that time, it was now my senior year and I couldn’t wait for my arrival to Nashville to get fitted for a running blade. My entire experience with ABR was extraordinary as I was quickly introduced to such supportive individuals interested in helping amputees like myself. During my week in Nashville, I experienced the behind-the-scenes work done at the clinic and fabrication shop, which only increased my excitement. Now that it’s been a year since receiving my running blade, I am extremely eager for what the future holds considering my athletic ability is developing rapidly as my muscles gain more strength every time I run with my blade! Having the ability to push my limits and capabilities makes me ecstatic to continue training and participate in more competitive running events. For instance, it would take me about 15 minutes to finish a mile and about 45 minutes to an hour to complete a 5k with my old prosthesis. Now, my average mile time is 8-9 minutes and average 5k pace is under 30 minutes. My best mile time is 7 minutes and best 5k time is under 25 minutes! The best thing about having my new leg is that I can stay active with family and friends without worry and run confidently with little to no pain, which I never thought was possible a year ago. Another example of how my life has changed include involving myself in sports leagues like ultimate frisbee and basketball. In addition, I find it comical that I can now run faster than my younger brother who did track and cross-country in high school! Overall, my future athletic endeavors entail training to complete half-marathons and marathons, plus beating personal records for sprinting and 5ks. I am even considering going into the prosthetics field by becoming a practitioner now that I graduated college. Hopefully one day I will have the chance to pay it forward by saying how I helped someone like myself overcome their own limitations!
Thank you ABR, I don’t know what life would be like without your help!