Shaun Bakker's RHEO KNEE XC Story
I have been an amputee for just over 20 years now, losing my leg at the age of 21. Having struggled with pain and poor mobility following knee surgery to eliminate bone cancer, the decision to amputate my leg was my own, and in all honesty, it was the best decision I have ever made. We don’t all have the luxury of making such decisions and the journey is potentially harder from a mental standpoint, but post-amputation for me was all about getting ‘back on the bike’!
There have been many highs following my amputation and the majority of these have been around the sport I love. I've played disabled golf for many years, travelled the world competing and meeting some of the most amazing people along the way. I have experienced some lows post-amputation, and this is only when my leg is causing discomfort. The best bit of advice I could give is to never settle for an ill-fitting prosthetic limb. Educate yourself on what prosthetic limb solutions are available on the market and keep pushing your prosthetist for the best outcome for you.
I’ve been managing golf clubs for the last 15 years. Golf is my passion, and I had the great experience of coaching other amputees at the Össur Mobility Clinic on the Green event in 2021. This was my first experience and I absolutely loved it! It is so rewarding to give back to the game that has given me so much over the years. The ability to pass on some of my knowledge and enthusiasm to fellow amputees was an incredibly rewarding experience.
Other than playing a weekend round of golf with friends, I am honing my game to be competitive on the world stage. As one of the leading All-Ability players in Australia, I am always looking to compete in World Ranking events and push my ranking to the Top 20 in the world. Only 10 spots to go! I also love to cycle, go to the gym and do lap swimming when I’m not golfing.
I’ve been on the RHEO KNEE XC for just over 2 years, where prior to that I only had mechanical knees. The microprocessor in the RHEO KNEE XC provides safety and prevents falls, and has made the biggest difference to my mobility. This is particularly true when taking a step and not having to worry about the knee collapsing, or whether you’ve got your foot in the right place, as the knee provides resistance and support.
The RHEO KNEE XC features artificial intelligence and is thinking for you the whole time, measuring your speed as you go and constantly adapting for you, which is a big difference compared to using a mechanical knee. Going for a quick walk to a slow walk is easy, and as I am not having to think as much about walking, it almost feels like a holiday!
I find the RHEO KNEE XC great for going down stairs as opposed to my previous mechanical knees where I wasn’t able to go down foot over foot. The RHEO KNEE XC provides resistance which allows me to feel very comfortable and confident going down stairs and down slopes too. I feel you can really get your resistance into the slope and it’s quite nice ambling down the hill. My gait and my walking have also improved, and people have commented on how normal my walking looks. I have also enjoyed the cycling function because when you get on the bicycle, the RHEO KNEE XC automatically enters the cycling mode which provides the free resistance that you need for cycling.
The RHEO KNEE XC has been great for my lifestyle and I wished I had gotten to it sooner!