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MARCH 2013




The Health & Lifestyle Magazine for Amputees Who Want to Live More Fully


“Notorious” Nick Newell


The Health & Lifestyle Magazine for Amputees Who Want to Live More Fully

Volume 2, Issue 2 Amp It Up! c/o Eureka Custom Media, LLC 1916 Redbud Valley Drive Maryville, TN 37801 865 233-8711

From the Editor


t’s Spring again! And one of the great things about Spring is that it offers so many wonderful opportunities for getting outdoors and enjoying a variety of activities. And not just for people without disabilities. For everyone. If you don’t already know it, I’m here to tell you that there are all kinds of sports and recreational activities available for amputees. Some of you will want to and be able to participate in activities that are designed mainly for able-bodied people. Others will want to participate in activities that are designed especially for amputees. Either way, I encourage you to get out and have fun this year while, at the same time, being physically active for your health. If you’re looking for a sport or recreational activity to participate in, visit http:// There’s pretty much something for everyone there. Other activities are mentioned in this issue of Amp It Up! in our ads and on our Upcoming Events calendar (page 24). If you think you can’t participate in sports and recreation because of your amputation or prosthesis, be sure to check out Bob Radocy’s article about adaptive devices on pages 14-17. Bob’s company and a variety of other companies offer prosthetic solutions for amputees who want to participate in sports and recreation. Some amputees also participate in wheelchairs, and others, like the soccer players we wrote about in our premiere issue, participate on crutches. We understand that prosthetic devices for participating in sports and recreation can be costly and might not be covered by insurance. However, there are several organizations that might be of assistance. Go back to page 16 of our first issue of

Amp It Up! ( and read “Tools for living: Prosthetic devices help amputees ‘Amp It Up,’” by Kevin M. Carroll, MS, CP. On page 19 of that issue, there is also a list of funding resources for prosthetic devices. Whatever you do, don’t believe the myth that now that you are an amputee you can’t participate in sports and recreation. You can - if you really want to. Enjoy your spring and summer. Participating in sports and recreation is also a great way to meet new amputee friends and enhance your social network.

Rick Bowers


publisher Eureka Custom Media, LLC Editor-in-Chief Director of Communications Rick Bowers

Creative Director Michael Shannon Editorial Advisory Board Jamey French Molly French Patty Parrish Friend Jim Haag Tammie Higginbotham M. Jason Highsmith, DPT, CP Dr. Mark Hinkes, DPM Brian J. Johnston Jason T. Kahle, CPO Shauna Mote John Rheinstein, CP, FAAOP Jennifer Latham Robinson Neal Seigfried Stella Sieber

Amp It Up! is published 9 times a year by Eureka Custom Media, LLC.

Editor’s Request: If you haven’t already done so, please help us spread the word about this publication. Simply tell five amputees you know about Amp It Up!, and ask each of them to tell five others about it. By doing so, you will help us grow and become a more effective communications tool for the amputee community. The more people we are able to reach on a regular basis, the more we can accomplish. When amputees need to unite on a political issue; need to learn about an important event; need to know about support groups or peer support services; need to be informed about ways to prevent a second amputation or deal with pain; etc., we can be the vehicle for making that possible. But, first, we must build a regular audience that will help us reach more and more amputees. Spread the word. Help bring this community together to make life better for amputees everywhere. Thanks in advance for your assistance.

Copyright © 2013 Eureka Custom Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This publication may not be reproduced in whole or in part, in any fashion, electronically or otherwise, without the written permission of Eureka Custom Media. Information in this publication is the responsibility of the producers of the content and does not always reflect Eureka Custom Media’s views. Such information is provided for educational purposes and is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice. For specific medical advice related to your situation, please seek the advice of a professional healthcare provider. The inclusion of advertisements and articles in this publication should not be construed as endorsement of any product, service, device or company by Eureka Custom Media.

MARCH 2013  Amp it up! magazine




features Cover Story: One-armed fighter Nick Newell has full support of Jim Abbott 06 UNDEFEATED: An interview with “Notorious� Nick Newell 08 Wounded soldiers learn how to get back in the game 09 Caregiving with love: Five tips to better healing 22



09 14



regular 03 10 14 18 24

From the Editor Your Emotions: Unpack your negative thoughts Prosthetic Solutions: Improving amputee performance in sports and recreation through prosthetic technology Spotlight on Nonprofits: Footprints Adventures Upcoming Events

Cover Image : Courtesy of

Athletes, Volunteers, Coaches... You're never alone at The Getting2Tri Foundation

The Getting2Tri Foundation 2Tcamp.or

@G2Tcamps ww getting2

All photos courtesy of (Not included in original article)

Cover Story


Amp it up! magazine  MARCH 2013

One-armed fighter Nick Newell has full support of Jim Abbott BY JIM GENIA



n January 26, retired Major League Baseball player Jim Abbott took to Twitter to lend his support to up-andcoming mixed martial arts competitor Nick Newell, saying, “Nothing can stop you! Keep fighting, keep believing. We are all rooting for you.” The young fighter is undefeated as a pro, and was hoping his impressive eight-bout winning streak would eventually carry him into the Ultimate Fighting Championship. That is, until UFC president Dana White flat out said, “Never, no.” Newell, you see, is missing much of his left arm. Not that it would matter to Abbott, who was born without a right hand. “I want people to believe in their ability to accomplish things,” said Abbott in an interview with Rebellion Media. In the span of a ten-year career, Abbott pitched for the New York Yankees, the California Angels, the Chicago White Sox and the Milwaukee Brewers. “I’m just rooting for him on a personal level. To be honest, I don’t know a lot about the fighting world, but people reached out to me and I became a fan. I’ve watched a few matches. Since I heard about Nick, I’ve watched a few.” Abbott retired from MLB in 1999, and includes among his list of accomplishments pitching a no-hitter against the Cleveland Indians in 1993 and working as a motivational speaker after his time in professional sports. There is, of course, the fact that he overcame great physical adversity to excel at the elite level – perhaps his greatest accomplishment of all.

“Baseball was interesting,” he said, “and the hardship for me was in the initial phases of my career, just learning to do things differently. But just because you do things a little bit differently doesn’t mean you can’t do things well.” He added, “Baseball is unlike the fighting world. They gave me the chance. I ran into roadblocks, but at least I had the opportunity to do things.” It is that lack of opportunity that strikes a chord with Abbott. As athletes go, mixed martial arts competitors have to be extremely tough. In Newell’s time in the cage, he’s fought his way up the ranks of top regional promotion Xtreme Fighting Championships (XFC). In December, Newell quickly defeated Bellator veteran Eric Reynolds to become the organization’s lightweight champ. With victories earned both by way of knockout and submission,

Newell is clearly tough and has the ability to be successful. “I think it comes down to determination and belief,” said Abbott, speaking on Newell’s odds at success and drawing from his own experiences. “Once you get past that initial optimism that you can find a way, then it’s about the determination and hard work that you need to succeed.” What has gone virtually unspoken is the question “What if?” What if, despite his best efforts, Newell steps into the UFC’s Octagon and gets beaten? In 2007, congenital amputee Kyle Maynard, whose arms end at his elbows and legs end at his knees, was unable to get licensed by the athletic commission in Georgia and was forced to fight in a state that had no commission oversight; Maynard lost, and that loss overshadowed all the other fights MARCH 2013  Amp it up! magazine


on that card. Wouldn’t Newell suffering a defeat stand out among others? After all, it could be seen as simply a person with a disability losing a cagefight – an image that carries with it all sorts of stigma and negative connotation. Abbott doesn’t’ believe that would be the case. “I think he’d be a great example

to a lot of people out there if he were to win or lose,” said Abbott. “It’s just him out there doing his best. I don’t think there’d be any stigma attached to him getting beaten.” “I am a fan of Nick,” said Abbott. “He’s willing to take that chance and put himself in the ring, and you never know

the glory of victory if you don’t know what it’s like to fail. He’s only asking for the chance to prove himself. It’s much more disappointing if he never gets his chance.” Originally published by F (February 12, 2013) at nick-newell-jim-abbott/

UNDEFEATED An interview with “Notorious” Nick Newell, mixed martial arts (MMA) world champion

Photo courtesy of

by Amp It Up! Staff


Although he was born missing nearly half of his left arm, Nick Newell has been participating in mixed martial arts since he was 22. His first MMA fight was in 2008, and he debuted professionally in 2009. At 27, he is now a world champion with a professional record of 9 wins and 0 losses. Nick recently spoke with Amp It Up! about how he got started in the sport and his plans for the future. Amp It Up! (AIU): What got you interested in mixed martial arts? Nick: I saw it on TV, and I thought, “Wow, I’d like to learn how to do this!” I started out learning, and learning turned into competing. I just got carried away with it. AIU: What made you believe that you could succeed with only a partial left arm, which would seem like a disadvantage in fighting? Nick: I don’t think like that. You have your advantages and your disadvantages no matter what your body type is. I wasn’t raised to doubt myself or wonder if I could or couldn’t do anything. Instead of doubting myself and weighing what could happen, I just like to dive in and see what happens. AIU: Who would you credit with giving you the belief that your partially missing arm should not hold you back? Nick: My family, definitely, especially my mother. I was raised well, and they taught me to just go and do things. They never told me that I couldn’t do anything. Whenever I wanted to do something, they said, “Okay.” AIU: Did you ever get made fun of because of your missing arm? Nick: Yeah, I got made fun of a little bit, but I’ve always been a little more quick-witted than most people, and I’ve always been kind of tougher than others too. I was also just nice to everyone, and I always had a great group of friends. Of course, everyone always has their opinions, and some people made jokes about me. I’m a pretty funny guy, and I always joke with people, but I don’t ever make fun of my arm. I can take Amp it up! magazine  MARCH 2013

a joke, but I didn’t take any nonsense from anyone trying to pick on me. AIU: Have you in some way been able to turn your partial arm into an advantage in MMA fighting? Nick: There are some advantages and some disadvantages. It’s not a risk to grab on the ground, but I also don’t have a left cross. It depends on how you look at it. AIU: Is Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) president Dana White still saying that he will never allow you to participate in the Ultimate Fighting Championship or has he changed his mind? Nick: No, that still seems to be the position of the UFC. I’m ready when they’re ready to take me, but they’re still not interested. There’s nothing I can do except keep fighting. I’ve never been one to beg anyone. I know how good I am, and I know what I’m capable of. I’m going to be known as one of the best fighters in this sport and not just as a guy with one hand but as a fighter in general. I know that I’ll have my day, and my time will come. I’m not going to cry and say, “Oh, no, you didn’t want me,” or beg them to let me fight. I’ll fight whoever wants me. I’ll fight for a league that’s going to give me a chance. I’ve done nothing but win and prove myself in the past so I don’t understand why the UFC would say no, but it is what it is, and I’m just going to keep winning and showing how good I actually am. AIU: Any advice for others who might be on the verge of giving up their dreams because of their limb loss or limb difference? Nick: Give it a go. You only know what’s going to happen if you give it a try. A lot of great things have come about from people taking risks. For more information about Nick Newell, please visit his Web site at

Wounded soldiers learn how to get back in the game


Photos courtesy of Ability Dynamics

Rich Sainz - amputee and clinical manager for Ability Dynamics - plays at the racquetball clinic in Phoenix.

Rich Sainz (left) of Ability Dynamics and Steven Harper (middle) on the set of Good Morning Arizona

new national program called Racquetball Rehabilitation Clinics (RRC), which is sponsored by the Military Racquetball Federation (MRF), has many chapters across the country and recently hosted a clinic to help wounded soldiers and amputees get back into the game. The event, which was held at Arizona State in Phoenix on February 15-16, was sponsored by Tempe, Arizona-based prosthetic manufacturer Ability Dynamics ( The clinic drew many local wounded veterans, some of whom played the game using prosthetic limbs. Service members, especially amputees, are getting their strength and confidence back through the use of racquetball as rehabilitation for both the physical and mental challenges suffered from combat. Using a special technique for vets with disabilities, the RRC program uses racquetball as a way to improve eye/hand coordination, reduce stress and build confidence. Amputee vets use prosthetic limbs to play, and the game helps them build their agility, flexibility and, most of all, hope. The RRC program is made possible, in part, through a sizeable grant from the United States Olympic Committee. These racquetball clinics are timely and effective. Hundreds of thousands of soldiers have

returned from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan wounded and suffering from amputation, PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), traumatic brain injury (TBI), depression and other traumas. As a result, they require intense rehabilitation. Rich Sainz, a knee-disarticulation amputee and clinical manager for Ability Dynamics, says he was able to play racquetball with ease using Ability Dynamic’s RUSH foot, which gives him the flexibility, strength and durability required for high-action sports. “I’m passionate about encouraging other amputees to lead full, active lives,” says Sainz. “My work in the prosthetic industry has been very rewarding, and our company fully supports and endorses the RRC for their groundbreaking work with veterans and amputees.” Retired Lt. Cmdr. (U.S. Navy) Steven Harper, executive director of the MRF and founder of the RRC program, says he is “on a mission to help disabled service members thrive through the game of racquetball.” For more information about the MRF and the RRC program, including dates of upcoming events, please visit

MARCH 2013  Amp it up! magazine


Your Emotions

Unpack your negative BY DANIELLE ORNER


eople constantly comment on my smile. Whether I am practicing yoga or walking down the street in a summer dress, strangers will stop me to tell me I am an inspiration and will marvel at my positive attitude. Since I came of age in a children’s oncology ward, these comments are nothing new to me. It has taken me more than a decade to realize that it is okay for me to still have negative thoughts. I used to be ashamed of any negativity infiltrating my thinking. After all, I was supposed to be a strong young


Amp it up! magazine  MARCH 2013

woman who defied limits and believed in herself. As a result, I pushed any self-deprecating thoughts or doubts down and battled to keep them there. Because I was afraid those thoughts would overwhelm me and pull me down with them if I gave them any airtime, I hid them under a layer of guilt and embarrassment. Unfortunately, although I didn’t realize it at the time, those thoughts continued to control my actions and perspective from their hidden place. I obeyed their regulations just as my body obeyed the gravitational

ve thoughts pull of the Earth. Worse, by not acknowledging them, I was unable to examine them and gently let them go. The original title proposed for this article was “Go Ahead - Commit a Murder Today! Kill Those Destructive Thoughts That Are Holding You Back.” While I liked the catchiness of the title, I had just finished listening to a talk on self-love and how love begins with acceptance. We don’t do battle with ourselves. We accept it all and then gently introduce a desire to change. I like to practice a meditation designed by Belleruth Naparstek that has this wonderful affirmation: “More and more I can acknowledge whatever I feel as my inner truth of the moment.” This isn’t wallowing; it is validation. To further explain this shift in thinking, I’ll address five common thoughts that have the potential to obstruct our growth and happiness as amputees. If you’ve ever had any of these negative thoughts, you’re not alone. Like the famous quote about courage not being the absence of fear, positivity is not the absence of doubt. We feel the fear and pain before we choose to think differently.

1. “I’ll never be attractive again. No one will ever want me.” I put this thought at the top of the list because it is the one I struggle with the most and refused to acknowledge for the longest time. We live in a culture obsessed with youth, sex and airbrushed images. Trust me, no one feels great about his or her body all the time. Advertising is designed to make sure we feel like we are not enough. As amputees, we have the added challenge of being “other.” We are rarely represented as sexy in the media. Here is what I finally realized: There are people who will find you unattractive. Sometimes, it will be because you are an amputee. At other times, it will be because of your hair color/height/weight/skin color/laugh/whatever. Attraction is a strange force, governed by many factors. If you are holding out for universal approval, you are going to be miserable. I

love the Dita Von Teese quote “You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there’s still going to be somebody who hates peaches.” I remind myself of this quote when I know I am holding on to a romantic relationship out of the fear that no one else will come along. Due to cancer, my leg was amputated right before my 16th birthday, and I believed that no one would find me attractive as an amputee. Although it took me a decade, I finally discovered that the only person I needed to change was myself. I didn’t think I was attractive, and, at the end of the day, my opinion was the only one that mattered. I shut down when people flirted with me because I told myself that they wouldn’t find me attractive the minute they saw me walk. No one had a chance to reject me because I beat them to it. So I began to stop hiding my leg and prosthesis. As an actress and writer, I decided to take on this healing through art. I wrote a screenplay about a female Marine returning home as an amputee and posing nude for a photographer. Wanting to experience the same journey as my character, I’ve since posed in limited clothing for photographs for various publications. I also shot a short film with swimsuit and lingerie scenes. Now, I am considering modeling for a formdrawing class. Take time to really look at yourself in the mirror. Listen to the thoughts that arise and allow them to be. Ask yourself what you need to do to feel attractive and lovable. You don’t need to pose nude for local artists, but take risks to break up old thought patterns. Also, find pictures of smokin’ hot amputees. I follow the fan pages of several amputee athletes and models as a reminder of how I shape my own concepts of beauty. I keep pictures of Aimee Mullins and Amy Purdy on my Pinterest boards, and I’ve watched both of their TED Talks several times. We all know that the most attractive people are those who radiate self-love and confidence. The right person will see you as more amazing because of your journey. Do you want someone who wants you only if you fit certain criteria or can you wait for those soul mates who see all of you and love you MARCH 2013  Amp it up! magazine


unconditionally? Remember: Everyone feels broken and unlovable in some way, at least some of the time.

about where I am while still maintaining a vision for where I want to be.

2. “I’ll never be active again.”

3. “I’ll never be able to succeed in my career again.”

To borrow the Nike slogan, the only way to overcome this thought is to “just do it.” Even if you are still recovering, try exercises you can do from a bed. The deeper fear behind this statement is that you will never be as fit as you were before your amputation. For a while, I was a runner. Originally, I thought a bump on my leg was a running injury from all the hours I spent training as a varsity athlete. When I recovered, I tried to go back to running, but even with a high-tech prosthetic leg, running simply didn’t feel right. So I took a break and did theater instead. Then, a college drama scholarship led me to a movement professor who eventually introduced me to yoga. Point being, you need to honor your new body. Listen to the places where your skin is being rubbed raw or your bones are grinding against your socket. If you base all your goals on getting back to where you used to be, you might be missing the opportunity to discover a new path. Not everyone needs to be a Paralympian. As Joseph Campbell said, “Follow your bliss.” Design a fitness routine and lifestyle that works for you and makes you feel your best. Consider recruiting fitness experts, your prosthetist, and other fit amputees to help you. I consider my health and fitness to be a constant process. I might not be able to do a certain yoga pose today, but I know that I will eventually add it to my daily practice. I am honest and accepting


Amp it up! magazine  MARCH 2013

I’ve had a variety of jobs since my amputation. I taught middle school, waited tables while I was an actress in a dinner theater, supervised college students as a resident advisor, wrote for a newspaper, and managed a café. Whenever I feel I need a modification, I talk to my boss and co-workers. At first, I worked hard to prove that I was as good as any other employee. I acted from a place of feeling that I needed to compensate. Over time, however, I have come to realize that walking up stairs slowly or needing to drive with a special pedal are small factors compared to passion, intelligence, genuine enthusiasm and creativity. Now, I see all my life experiences as assets not as liabilities. I bring a new perspective to any job. I demonstrate tenacity with every step. Eventually, I hope to make an entire career out of writing, speaking and wellness coaching. My past and my identity are at the core of this shift. I have things to say and unique stories to share. Try thinking of ways you can use all your attributes to advance your career. Or, if you really don’t feel like your career is a good fit, change it. There is no rule saying that your pre-amputation and post-amputation life must look identical. Consider branching out and exploring all your skills. Whether you decide to remain in the same career or make a change, seek out helpful

If you base all your goals on getting back to where you used to be, you might be missing the opportunity to discover a new path. resources and know your rights.

4. “I’ve lost a limb. My life is over.” Are you still breathing? If so, it’s not over. I’ve been an amputee for 12 years – almost my entire young adulthood. Those years have been full of life. I traveled all over Europe, went to college, sang in a cathedral in New York, adopted a kitty and a puppy, learned to cook vegan food, fell in love, and so much more. And my dreams continue to grow each year. You are the only person who decides what limits get put on your life. Will there be tough and frustrating times? Yes. Your prosthesis will break on the only day you go for a hike without your phone. You will have to ask for help. You will have to do some things differently. People will make hurtful, insensitive comments or pester you with the same old questions. Yet, you are still the only one in control of what you will do with it all. As amputees, our challenges are very visible, but don’t forget the insightful words often attributed to Ian MacLaren: “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” No matter what happens, as long as you are breathing, this life is yours to design. Feel the frustration, and then act anyway.

5. “I’m not doing it perfectly so I should just give up.” No one is doing it perfectly. As a recovering perfectionist, I need to regularly remind myself of this ultimate truth. One great way to remedy this thought is to be open and honest with everyone around you. Honesty is usually rewarded with honesty. In our society, we tend to lie to cover up our insecurities and fears. We all walk around saying we are fine. Own your story.

I highly recommend reading anything by Brené Brown to learn more about letting yourself be enough. Also, practice not judging others. Every time we put someone above or below us, we reestablish the pecking order in our mind and worry excessively about where we stand. Practicing radical compassion frees you to live in the real world and make genuine connections. Perfection is a myth. Clinging to it prevents us from allowing ourselves to make mistakes. I never would have relearned how to walk if I hadn’t allowed myself to fall. Did I cry tears of embarrassment and pain every time I hit the pavement? Yep. But, eventually, we stand back up. To me, getting where I want to go is worth spending a little time on the ground. Danielle Orner was diagnosed with bone cancer at age 15, and she spent a decade undergoing surgeries, scans and treatments. Changing her lifestyle revitalized both her body and spirit. A writer, actress and teacher, Danielle seeks to explore the difficult questions about identity, sexuality and recovery. Her first feature screenplay, Exposure, placed as a semi-finalist in the Francis Ford Coppola American Zoetrope Screenplay Contest. Visit her fan page for updates on her short films, silly vegan cooking videos, and wellness events. www. Learn more about Danielle on YouTube at

MARCH 2013  Amp it up! magazine


Prosthetic Solutions

Improving amputee perf recreation through prost BY BOB RADOCY


’ve had the privilege of being involved in the design end of upper-extremity prosthetics since about 1976 when I first decided to develop a better body-powered prosthesis for myself. That effort resulted in the evolution of high-performance GRIP prehensors and gave rebirth to voluntary-closing system technology in 1980. Additionally, it led to the establishment of my company, TRS Inc. (aka Therapeutic Recreation Systems). I’ll write more about voluntary-opening versus voluntary-closing technology in a future issue of Amp It Up! The first sports device I conceived of was the Super Sport, which was designed to provide two-handed capability in ball sports like soccer, volleyball and basketball. I needed a tough, flexible, synthetic “hand” to throw a soccer ball in from the sidelines, provide protection during falls, and enhance my balance. In 1981 or 1982 when the first Super Sport was developed, the only other manufactured sports devices were the Hosmer Bowling Attachment


Amp it up! magazine  MARCH 2013

and Baseball Glove Attachment. Later, we developed the Amp U Pod adaptive device for use in photography. We built it for an amputee friend who had just dropped a very expensive Nikon off a bridge during a photo shoot! I then had the pleasure of working with Tom Willard, a Vietnam veteran who had sacrificed his left hand in service to our country. He had designed and was marketing the Amputee Golf Grip (AGG), the first successfully manufactured prosthetic golf accessory. TRS began to distribute the AGG, and interest in prosthetic accessories for sports and recreation continued to grow. Over the last 30 years, we have tried to keep our vision and direction clear and oriented toward product development to improve competitive bilateral performance. Specifically, we try to develop prosthetic aids and accessories that provide more than just the opportunity to participate in an activity. The technology allows an individual to be truly bilaterally competitive with two-handed peers. This pursuit has

seemed like a worthwhile goal, and it has been achievable. Now, don’t get me wrong. There are some excellent single-handed sports folks out there. There are those like Jim Abbott of baseball pitching fame, but that’s not where we wanted to go. My educational background in engineering, biology and physiology and my training as a recreational therapist influenced me to look at more therapeutic approaches to prosthetic design. Being bilateral and bimanual is better for your spine and overall skeletal and musculature health than being purely single-handed. Bilateral challenges might even influence brain stimulation. The reality is that we who are single-handed experience enough overuse syndrome already. Not everyone has a choice, but most people with an upper-extremity absence can choose to function bilaterally with a prosthesis and perform better than they would just using a single hand. For some activities, it is almost necessary to operate bilaterally. Ever try to kayak single-handed?

formance in sports and thetic technology

How about work out with a barbell or shoot a bow and arrow? For these activities and many others, two-handedness offers advantages over purely unilateral function. If you are already good with just one hand, think about the possibilities of twohanded performance. The extra power and control that can be generated and the reduction of unusual and undue stresses on the torso musculature and spine are important. Prosthetic socket technology has improved significantly in the last 20 years. An intimate “interface” that allows the prosthesis to feel like a real part of your body makes rigorous sports activities possible. I understand that some individuals with a hand absence view a prosthesis as an unnatural foreign object, but as modern humans we rely on modern technology to restore or enhance our performance all the time. Consider contact lenses, glasses, hearing aids and the plethora of purely athletic footwear and garments we accept and adopt in the

pursuit of better performance. Prostheses are just tools that enable us to enhance our lives and be more productive and perform better. So what do you want to do? In the last 10 years, we have generated prosthetic accessories for an ever-widening range of activities. Walter Reed Army Medical Center approached us with some unique challenges related to injured soldiers wanting to return to a more active lifestyle using an arm prosthesis. The new state-of-theart rehabilitation programs for amputees at Walter Reed and Brooke Army Medical Center have raised the bar for amputee activities and performance. Kayaking and rifle shooting were incorporated into the programs, and those demands resulted in the development of the Hammerhead Kayak TD (terminal device) and the Lamprey Gun Turret prosthetic accessory. Both devices have proven to be effective solutions for both soldiers and civilians with hand absence. The TRS staff is pleased to produce and provide these unique solutions to individuals wanting to get back

into sports or to just get out and enjoy recreation with their families. What about ball sports like basketball? A young man named Will Mills visited us many years ago along with his family. They had conceived of a basketball prosthetic accessory. Will had lost his hand in an explosive accident and was anxious to return to his favorite sport. The prototype was crude and somewhat fragile, but it was functional. I watched in amazement as Will dribbled and handled the ball as well as a two-handed person. We took on the challenge of perfecting that design, and one year later, we had developed the Mill’s REBOUND Basketball hand. Then, a little over a year ago, I met Hector Picard. Hector had a survived a severe electrical injury resulting in bilateral hand absence. He had lost his arm close to the shoulder on one side and below the elbow on the other. Hector loves basketball and created a unique device to handle the ball with just his prostheses because he has no other option. His design led to the birth of the HOOPSTER basketball TD that we MARCH 2013  Amp it up! magazine


introduced in 2012. Need can truly be the mother of invention! Inspiration comes from many directions. Robert Gabourie is a well-known prosthetist from Canada. Rob developed and patented a swimming prosthetic device back in the 1980s. He shared the concept with us, and after we took a hard look at it, we realized that it was more complex than it needed to be. We redesigned his four-fingered model with overlapping fins into a simple butterfly wing model that allows for one model that can be easily modified to match different hand sizes. Thus, the Freestyle Swimming TD was born and has provided truly bilateral swimming performance to hundreds of hand-absent swimmers for more than 25 years. Thanks, Rob, for your inventiveness! Hockey, bicycling, archery, gymnastics, yoga, rock climbing and weightlifting are all now within your “grasp.” Mike Hummel called me in the early 2000s. He was a pro bodybuilder, a specialist in bench pressing. He had been in an automobile accident that resulted in the loss of his left hand. He was trying to get back into competition but could not get the stability he needed for bench pressing using one of our rugged, stainless, GRIP 2


Amp it up! magazine  MARCH 2013

prehensors. He asked for our help in trying to modify the prosthesis to improve his capability. His request spurred us to think in-depth about the challenge, especially when he informed me that his goal was to bench press more than 500 pounds. I didn’t know that such feats were possible for even two-handed competitors, but I was corrected and the goal was identified. The Black Iron Master device that we developed allowed Mike to win the world championship in bench pressing in his weight class. Against two-handed competitors, he pressed over 650 pounds. Simply amazing! Congratulations, Mike, on your perseverance and success and for inspiring the design of some high-performance weightlifting/training prostheses. I played a lot of baseball as a kid and young adult. I was small-framed but had a strong arm. I played center field and could throw a baseball all the way into home plate from deep centerfield. I played in Little League, made the All Stars, and even went into a World Series tournament one year in my youth. Although we lost, the experience was burned into my soul. Then, at age 22, I was in a car accident that resulted in the amputation of my left hand. I was a southpaw so in an instant my

throwing ability evaporated. Fortunately, I was somewhat ambidextrous so my rehabilitation was easier. I wrote and did a number of other things right-handed, but I threw left-handed and kicked primarily left-footed. That was in 1971. I never regained my ability to throw a ball as well right-handed as I did lefthanded. I don’t know why. It just never clicked for me. But once I met Hector Picard, the amputee who was responsible for the idea for the HOOPSTER, I was inspired. The clever design for the HOOPSTER suddenly made me think about baseball again. I had concluded that I would never be able to throw a baseball lefty again, but I was wrong! The HOOPSTER concept spurred my imagination about the highperformance polymers that we were using in some of our other prosthetic designs. If a basketball could be handled with just a prosthesis, why couldn’t a baseball? In early spring 2012, we set upon some new ideas. We quickly crafted some “proof-of” prototype models and realized that throwing a baseball might be possible. A lot of iterations later, I was amazed to experience the thrill of throwing a baseball again, instinctively and accurately. After 40 years, I was throwing a baseball

at speeds of more than 50 miles per hour and farther than 30 meters with accuracy. The experience has been overwhelming, truly astonishing and rewarding. So we now can offer the COBRA Baseball Throwing TD. Never in the history of prosthetics, to the best of my knowledge, has such a thing been accomplished. I believe that the COBRA is a revolutionary step forward in upper-extremity prosthetics. But don’t believe me. It’s available to check out for yourself. Check it out, and I believe that you will be as amazed as I have been in being able to “throw again.” Finally, if you have an innovative idea that you think deserves to be further developed, please get in touch with me. I’m glad to be a resource to anyone with a prosthetic challenge or new idea, and I will respond to your e-mail. Become two-handed again, and play hard! For more information about adaptive devices, please visit products/trs/. Bob Radocy is an active amputee who is missing his left hand. He has been designing highperformance prosthetic components for 30 years and is the president and CEO of TRS Inc.

MARCH 2013  Amp it up! magazine



Amp it up! magazine  MARCH 2013

Spotlight on Nonprofits

Footprints Adventures offers “fun empowering adventures for teens and adults with limb differences and limb loss”


Q> A<

What is Footprints Adventures, and what does the organization do?

Brian: Footprints Adventures is an adventure travel camp specifically designed for teens and adults with limb differences and limb loss (amputations). The organization leads programs in the outdoors where participants have the opportunity to go whitewater rafting and rock climbing, be challenged on a high ropes course, and participate in many other activities while camping out the entire week.

Q> A<

Why did you start the organization?

Brittany: Footprints Adventures was founded after my husband Brian was in a serious accident resulting in a limb difference of his own in 2004. During the year-and-a-half recovery process, Brian and I talked about what we wanted to do with our lives, careers and Outdoor Recreation degrees. As a result of these conversations, our dream of starting Footprints Adventures began to take shape. Brian grew, adapted and

learned tremendously while bringing adventure back into his life during his recovery process. Despite the day-today challenges Brian faced, he was able to see past his disability and find the right adaptations to get back into the adventure activities that he loved before his accident. As a result of our desire to offer others the chance to experience the same feelings and growth that we have experienced, the dream of Footprints Adventures became a reality.

Q> A<

What is your mission?

Brittany: The mission of Footprints Adventures is to promote self-advocacy, personalreflection and self-confidence among teens and adults with limb differences and limb loss; and to challenge them to set new physical goals through fun and adventurous activities.

Q> A<

How has the organization grown over the years?

Brian: In the first year that Footprints Adventures was incorporated, we spent our time raising money and awareness for the program. Now we lead multiday trips around Colorado where we camp the entire time and participate in a multitude of outdoor activities. This summer, Footprints will run two outdoor

programs, sponsor people to attend an adaptive sports conference, and run sessions at other conferences to raise awareness of Footprints Adventures.


How many people do you believe the organization has been able to help so far?


Brian: Footprints Adventures has continuously increased its impact on participants while getting its name out there. The organization sent four people to an adaptive sports conference in 2011, took five people on a seven-day camping trip that same month, and added more participants to its program in 2012. By working to fill two travel programs this summer, to send five people to the adaptive sports conference again this year, and to run sessions at an adaptive sports competition, Footprints is continuing to reach out to help people.


What’s the best thing someone has told you after he or she participated in a Footprints Adventures event?


Brittany: After a Footprints program, a participant said, “My experience with Footprints Adventures was life-changing.” Another participant wrote the following in the group journal >> MARCH 2013  Amp it up! magazine


after the rock-climbing day: “Climbing was strenuous but rewarding at the same time. Everyone was cheering the climbers on, up the rock. Once I reached the top, my heart swelled with pride and gratitude – pride in my abilities despite my physical challenge and gratitude for the opportunity to participate in such a special adventure. I took a moment to soak in the beauty of the mountains and feel like a part of nature.”

Q> A<

What does it feel like to make a difference in other people’s lives?

Brian: It feels good and not just your “I feel good today” kind of good. It is a feeling all its own. It is as if you had to combine all of your other “good” feelings to make one. It is much more because this “good” is warm and fuzzy; it is full of pride, excitement, confidence, empowerment and compassion. Whenever I think about the programs that I have done and the participants, it makes me smile, even after a long hard day at work. That’s what it feels like to run this program and make a difference in people’s lives.

Q> A<

What is your vision for the organization’s future?

Brian: Footprints has a bright future, one that we hope is full of growth in programs with international destinations and year-round programs.


If you could do one other thing with the organization, what would it be?


Brian: Footprints would love to use itself as a platform for cancer awareness as a majority of the participants in the program who have amputations are survivors of cancer.

Q> A<

How can others help Footprints Adventures fulfill its mission?

Brian and Brittany: One of our goals for this summer is to have at least eight participants in the young adult program in June and at least eight


Amp it up! magazine  MARCH 2013

participants in the adult program in July. To help us meet this goal, please join us this summer on one of our adventures, and tell everyone you know to check out what Footprints is all about.

In addition, donations always help a nonprofit. We accept monetary donations, but you may also donate your used car, and the proceeds of its sale will go to Footprints. Also, if you are able to donate gently used outdoor gear, a cargo trailer, or a 12- to 15-passenger van, it would be greatly appreciated. All staff members at Footprints Adventures are currently volunteers. They work full-time jobs and take their vacation time to run, orchestrate and prepare Footprints programs. Footprints would love to see the day that our very generous staff members get paid and can be available full time to reach out to more people.


What advice would you give those who want to do something to benefit others?


Brian: If you know something in your heart, follow it. It is very rewarding. Come help us, and feel how much it changes your life.


Is there anything else you’d like to tell people with limb differences or limb loss about Footprints Adventures?


Brian and Brittany: Our motto is “I do what I can … with what I got!” No matter what challenges you have been through in your life, life is not over. Come to Colorado, join the Footprints Adventures family, and see for yourself what you are truly capable of.


How may a person get more information about Footprints Adventures?


Brittany: People may visit our Web site at for

more information and to fill out a registration form. They may also call us at 720 445-5238 or send us an e-mail at footprintsadventures@


Athletes with Disabilities Network’s mission To promote a better quality of life for people with physical disabilities by creating awareness and offering opportunities to get involved with athletic, recreational and educational activities nationwide. Programs include: ● Athletes with Disabilities Hall of Fame ● Extremity Games ● Mentoring & Outreach ● Adaptive Sports Coalition ● Collegiate Scholarships

2013 Events Calendar April - Adaptive Rock Climbing Clinic Joshua Tree, CA May - Detroit Lions Tony Filippis, Sr. Memorial Bocce Tournament Palazzo di Bocce, Orion, MI May/June - Extremity Games 8 Motocross - Baja Acres, Millington, MI Main Event - Texas Ski Ranch, TX October 24 - 15th Annual Athletes with Disabilities Hall of Fame MotorCity Casino, Detroit, MI

248.829.8353 ADN_FlPg.indd 1 12/27/11 7:59:42 AM

MARCH 2013  Amp it up! magazine



Whether it’s your wife, husband, child, another relative or close friend you are caring for, it is paramount that you become the best caregiver possible for your loved one. As a caregiver for my wife, Jacqui, during her brave journey to beat aml-leukemia, here is what I learned and can share as I honor and applaud caregivers everywhere.


Amp it up! magazine  MARCH 2013


Be the trusted advocate. No matter the illness, the medical journey to heal is lengthy and complicated, especially if the battleground is cancer. It is important to make sure that you - the caregiver - understand the treatment that the doctor has initiated, no matter how complex, and that all questions have been answered, including the many what ifs and whens. If you need to research various options or get second opinions, make it happen. If you need a clinical trial, find it. If the patient is overwhelmed or can’t focus, he or she must feel and know the caregiver is the responsible advocate and is knowledgeable of the best possible medical journey. If so, the patient will feel protected and loved, and thus empowered to just focus on his or her part: the healing.


Become the cocoon around your loved one. Every day, I’d get into Jacqui’s bed and we’d hug tightly as she’d wrap herself around me while we chatted or napped. I always made sure she felt totally surrounded, completely cocooned, by my love, my strength, and my positive attitude. As a caregiver, you have to supply that grounding, that safety net. No matter how bad or creepy or doubtful a patient may feel, you have to provide an unconditional, unbending, concrete tower of absolute certainty about positive progress, as well as an ocean of love that will not allow anything to happen but the very, very best. As caregiver, you must be the unmovable rock of strength and security. A granite-strong cocoon!

Five tips to better healing


Don’t just be present. Be a partner. You need to work as a team member, in partnership with the patient, to be there and support him or her with any and all treatments, from MRIs to IV-line cleanings. Whether double-checking with the nurses about the drugs they’re hooking up, making sure the bed is made or freshened while the patient is in the shower or bathroom, scheduling the physical therapists to keep your partner active and limber, or dealing with the three meals and snack orders, you are there to deal with the many details that make up daily hospital life. An unspoken team partnership is crucial for caregivers to bring to the table and for patients to rely on. It was my commitment to make sure Jacqui felt her partner was engaged with the journey 24/7. She knew it, she felt it, she counted on it.


Keep them active and involved. Sometimes it’s just being there to open the shades and point out how beautiful the sunrise is that morning. Sometimes it’s sharing an important front-page story in the news or breaking out a favorite game like Yahtzee to encourage the patient’s competitive spirit. Sometimes it’s playing a CD of oldies but goodies and getting up to do some crazy dance steps to get a laugh - or, better still, to get the patient to dance even if it means she must stand on your feet because she can’t stand alone.When you’re ill, the world feels like it’s closing in on you. It’s important for the caregiver to keep enlarging the boundaries and keep the patient involved with the outside world. Jacqui, who worked in women’s retail and was not familiar with daytime TV, really enjoyed watching Ellen when I started putting it on as she saw women celebrating life … laughing and dancing every day. The will to live and being active with the outside world is crucial therapy.


Arrange for small doses of one-on-one time with special friends and family. Your loved one values friendships, and some concentrated time with a dear friend or family member can be restorative. Have a special friend come over for 10 minutes to an hour (depending on how your loved one is feeling that day), and occupy yourself with a task nearby. This way, you can be summoned easily if needed, but they can still have some privacy and a small sense of normalcy. And if you need to regroup, grab a coffee with a friend or get on the phone with a college buddy. Do whatever it takes to remain strong, clearminded and balanced. Your own good mental outlook is crucial to your partner.

The caregiver must become the dependable all-around partner for the patient. If you can do that effectively and incorporate these five tips, the patient can relax as he or she heals and know that the train has a co-driver and all is well with the arduous journey. The more you take on your shoulders, the less remains on the patient’s. Needless to say, this includes everything else going on with your home, financial concerns such as paying monthly bills, and keeping family and friends informed. I was busy, as all caregivers are. And every single day, I am deeply grateful for Jacqui’s healing. Guy Magar, a TV and film director/writer/ producer, has worked for more than 30 years in the motion picture industry. His credits include Battlestar Galactica, The A-Team, La Femme Nikita and Children of the Corn: Revelation. He is the author of Kiss Me Quick Before I Shoot: A Filmmaker’s Journey into the Lights of Hollywood and True Love (

MARCH 2013  Amp it up! magazine


Upcoming Events Athletes with Disabilities Network (ADN)

Camp No Limits

May Detroit Lions Tony Filippis, Sr. Memorial Bocce Tournament Palazzo di Bocce, Orion, MI

June 16-19 Colorado

May/June Extremity Games 8 Motocross Baja Acres, Millington, MI Main Event Texas Ski Ranch, TX For more information: 248 829-8353 Be sure to verify event dates and venues with the hosting organization to make sure that they have not been changed.

Orthotic and Prosthetic Activities Foundation (OPAF)

June 11-14 Missouri

May 5 First Dive Intro to Scuba Macon, GA May 18 First Dance New York City, NY

June 28-July 1 California July 21-24 Idaho

June 1-5 First Volley Across North Carolina

July 30-August 3 Maine For more information: 207 240-5762

June 28 First Climb & First Swim Orlando, FL For more information: 980 819-9404

Amputees Sought for Paid Research

Body Power vs Bionic . . . There is no contest! . . . exceeding the challenge.

Rehabilitation Neuroscience Laboratory at the University of Missouri

Investigating the effects of limb loss or congenital absence on behavior and the brain to improve patient care and rehabilitation. This project will use behavioral tests, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) to investigate brain activity during movement and sensation. Results may have implications for improving rehabilitation techniques. Participants must be 18 - 70 years of age, and in good health with no history of neurological or psychiatric illness. Volunteers will receive $30/hr. for their participation, as well as reimbursement for all travel expenses.

Please contact us at: or by leaving a message at 573-882-3866 and we will return your call. MAR/APR


This research is funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health and Department of Defense.

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Amp It Up! Vol. 2 Issue 2  

The Health & Lifestyle Magazine for Amputees Who Want to Live More Fully

Amp It Up! Vol. 2 Issue 2  

The Health & Lifestyle Magazine for Amputees Who Want to Live More Fully