One out of every 200 people living in the US has had a limb amputated, according to the National Limb Loss Information Center. The majority of these amputations are due to vascular disease stemming from problems associated with the blood vessels, primarily from diabetes, a disease on the rise.
However, for those dealing with amputation inspiration can be drawn from Oscar Pistorius, a South African sprinter who has overcome the double amputation of his legs to become one of the fastest men on the planet.
Pistorius was been born with a genetic disorder, which saw him missing the fibula in both his legs. At 11 months old, he had both legs amputated. Despite the surgery, Pistorius managed to live a regular life, playing water polo, rugby and tennis. Today, he lives without limitations so much so that the athlete hopes next year to become the first person to compete against able-bodied athletes in events officially sanctioned by the IAAF.
"I'm on track to achieve it,” Pistorius said in an interview with The Guardian. The sprinter who has won numerous gold medals told the newspaper that, “the closer we get to it the hungrier I am.”
At the heart of keeping Pistorius running on the track is Ossur, the company who develops and produces the prosthetic products Pistorius uses to not only run but also to walk.
The forward thinking scientists at Ossur invented the technology used to create the company’s Flex-Foot Cheetah, which Pistorius runs on. The prosthetics are so cutting-edge, some members within the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) believe Pistorius (nicknamed Blade Runner) should be banned from competing in certain events because it’s thought he has an unfair advantage over other athletes.
However, after a hearing at the court of arbitration for sport, the sprinter was granted permission to compete if he qualifies.
While not every amputee will compete at the highest level of sport, thanks to Ossur today’s amputees can look forward to returning to their normal activities, maintain their sense of self and live a life without limitations.
Click here to read the full interview in the Guardian.
Take a look at our list of truly inspirational books, by authors Gracie Rosenberger, Jami Goldman and Team Össur members Paul Martin and Sarah Reinertsen. Each of them has a unique outlook on being an amputee, on living life and the pursuit of happiness.