Life as an amputee: Kelly's experience

Why should you even bother returning to sports? We had a quick chat with Dr. Kelly Terry from BARWIS Physical Therapy about life as an amputee from an outsider's perspective, and the health benefits of being active.

A whole new world
A first-hand experience with runnning blades

Like for so many regular two-legged folks, being introduced to the world of amputees can come as a huge shock. Especially the hidden hardships and challenges that people face when returning to sports came as a surprise to Kelly.

“People who had a new injury or were recently left as an amputee, struggling to figure out the right fit for them and fighting to get back their regular lives, was very surprising. You see people walking around and you think it’s so easy, but there’s a lot you don’t see.”

“On the flipside I was really surprised at what the potential is in some of these athletes. How strong, fast and athletic they can actually be.”

Kelly even managed to try the Levitate running blade on a pair of boots, which highlighted the physical challenges bilateral amputees face when wanting to give running blades a go.

“I had to hold people’s hands,” she says with a big smile. “It took me a while to get independent. I can’t imagine what some of these people have to go through in order to get comfortable just living their lives with a regular prosthetic device.”

The benefits of an active life
From 0 to 100

“As a physical therapist we help people to get back to what they want to do, and their prior level of function, all the time – and sometimes that takes baby steps.”

Like all new things, trying on a running blade might initially feel really difficult, and you might need some extra help holding on to someone or something. But what Kelly noticed was how much improvement each individual made throughout the day at BARWIS.

“They were getting more confident in trying new things and that led to another new thing and another new thing. Next thing you know, people who had a hard time standing up were all of a sudden running and jumping and doing all of these interesting things.”

If Kelly were to work with anybody that wanted to get back to the things they want to do, she recommends taking it in stride, trying things out and – again – taking baby steps along the way.

“I think finding the right device is huge in that.”