Richard Kusters lives in Leiderdorp with his childhood sweetheart and their daughter. Previously a plasterer in restoration/renovation, Richard lost his right leg in 2008 and since then has retrained and started working in the workshop of OIM Noordwijkerhout making prostheses and orthoses. Now he works at OIM Orthopedie Amsterdam where he's responsible for the logistics and stock management of several branches in North and South Holland.
"In 2008, we were riding our horse and carriage with the family. Due to a car that was coming towards us a bit fast at a road narrowing, our horse panicked. I stood next to my horse to calm him downbut at that moment, our horse was startled andreared up. As a result, I was hit by our carriage and both my legs were run over. My left knee was severely damaged, but my right leg was broken in over 30 places! I subsequently had 9 bone grafts over a period of 3 years. Unfortunately, this was accompanied by hellish pains and I also no longer had any function in my knee, so I could no longer walk. After those terrible 3 years it was decided to amputate my right leg. When I heard that, my world collapsed, butI was in unbearablepain, so I went for it."
"Pretty soon I started looking for information on different prostheses on my own. Of course, it was necessary to check with a specialist (prosthetist and physiotherapist) to see what was actually possible and what would suit me best, but I certainly didn't want to just let myself be prescribed something. After reading information about various prostheses, my prosthetist offered me a trial session with different feet and knees. My choice then fell immediately on the then RHEO KNEE (RHEO KNEE 2, ed.) and the Pro Flex XC Rotate foot. With this foot and knee, I could walk my horse through the pasture without any problems, it immediately felt very natural.
I had to rearrange my life after my amputation. A prosthesis is and remains an aid, but I do everything I want! I have become a real go-getter and 'I can't' or 'I can't' are no longer in my vocabulary! My prosthesis comes very close to a normal leg for me. So normal, that sometimes I even forget!
We have a family hobby: our horses. My wife is a coachman, my daughter is a jumper and dressage rider, and I was a western rider. I am not a western rider anymore, but now I make horse harnesses and leather jewelry; I work a lot with wood and I like to take pictures. But one of my biggest hobbies is wheelchair basketball. In 2016 my team became Dutch champions, and we will definitely defend that title! I am also a trainer and coach of the beginner team. I have played in several cinema films including Michiel de Ruyter and Fatal. In addition, I am an Ambassador for Össur, and I often attend seminars and trainings as a demo user. In this way I show prosthetists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, rehabilitation therapists etc. together with the Össur Academy colleagues what is possible with the different feet and knees."
“My first tip is: do your research! There is a lot of information on the internet about the different prostheses and your prosthetist, community groups and certainly other prosthesis users can give you a lot of information!”
What Richard Uses
Richard signed myself up as a test subject for the OPRA osseointegration system. In osseointegration, the prosthesis is attached to the femur bone not with a socket but directly with a metal pin. It is a long process of months and the rehabilitation is very hard. "It took a lot of patience, but I am glad I did it."
During this rehabilitation period, he was not yet allowed to fully load his leg and needed a lot of safety and stability. Therefore, he rehabilitated with a mechanical knee, the Mauch Knee. After half a year of training he could switch back to his own knee, the RHEO KNEE. When the RHEO KNEE 3 became available, he started to walk on it and what an improvement that was!
"I could go up and down hills without any problems. But when I started running on the RHEO KNEE XC, still in combination with the Pro Flex XC Rotate, a whole new world opened up for me! Climbing stairs, biking, I can do it all. It gives me so much more freedom. And the fact that the knee is also splashproof is very nice. Now I can wash my horse myself without having to worry about my prosthesis getting wet."
Product Links: RHEO KNEE