Friday, September 19, 2008

Prosethic Parity Bill introduced in U.S. Senate

From the Amputee Coalition of America:

Historic Bipartisan Bill Introduced in U.S. Senate Requires Meaningful Health Insurance Coverage for Amputees

Amputee Coalition of America Supports the "Group Health Plan Prosthetics Parity Act of 2008" Introduced by Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA)

Washington, DC, September 19, 2008—A historic bipartisan bill was introduced today in the U.S. Senate that would require health insurance companies to provide meaningful coverage for prosthetic care. The bipartisan bill, S. 3517 the "Prosthetics Parity Act of 2008," is co-sponsored by Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Daniel Inouye (D-HI), Russell Feingold (D-WI) and supported by the Amputee Coalition of America. The bill is designed to ensure that amputees covered by employer-paid health insurance are able to access the prosthetic care they need to lead full and independent lives...

Friday, September 12, 2008

ACA Donation Drive

For those concerned about prosthetic parity legislation and other policies that affect those with limb differences, the Amputee Coalition of America is asking for donations to continue its advocacy efforts at the state and federal level.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

2008 Extremity Games

From the Associated Press:

Loi Ho is doing push-ups and pull-ups and hanging from door frames by her fingertips to prepare her upper body for a rock climbing competition this week.

Her lower body just needs some stretching and one adjustment. When she gets to the climbing gym in Pontiac, Mich., on Friday, she'll take off her artificial leg and wrap athletic tape around the bottom of her right thigh. Then she'll try to defend her first-place finishes in the past two Extremity Games.

Ho, who was born with a congenital deficiency that stopped her right leg from developing below the femur, is one of about 80 participants with an amputation or other limb difference registered in the games that begin Thursday near Detroit. Other events include mountain biking and motocross racing, martial arts, skateboarding, wakeboarding and kayaking...

Friday, July 18, 2008

Pistorius won't be on Olympic team

Jim Abbott still inspiring

Sports Illustrated has a "Where are they now?" profile on former major league pitcher Jim Abbott. In addition to being a motivational speaker, Abbott dedicates part of his time to corresponding directly with kids who have physical disabilities and have sought out Abbott as a role model.

The letters come from Saratoga, Calif., from Fairfax, Va., from Monmouth Beach, N.J., written by determined mothers, desperate fathers and sometimes the children themselves...

...Of course, none of them (the kids) were alive 20 years ago, when Abbott went the distance for Team USA to win the gold medal game at the Seoul Olympics. None of them were alive 15 years ago, when he threw a no-hitter for the New York Yankees. And none of them were watching nine years ago, when he tossed his last pitch, for the Milwaukee Brewers. Abbott wonders why, now that he's 40 and long retired from baseball, boys and girls keep writing him letters. Perhaps it's because they know he writes back.

Officially, Abbott is a motivational speaker, hired by corporations such as Prudential, Exxon and Wells Fargo to tell his story. Unofficially, he is the repository for everybody else's story. Abbott receives approximately 20 e-mails or letters a month, all of them heart-wrenching, many of them about children who are missing a hand, or part of a hand, or feeling in a hand. He responds to each one personally...

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Pistorius still hoping to make Olympic relay team

From CNN International:

Double-amputee sprinter Oscar Pistorius -- nicknamed the "blade runner" for his prosthetic limbs -- still hopes to make it to the Beijing Olympics despite failing to qualify for the individual 400-meter event, his coach said Thursday.

Pistorius, 21, finished third in the 400 meters at a meet Wednesday in Lucerne, Switzerland. His time of 46.25 seconds fell short of the 45.55 needed to make it onto the South African Olympic team, according to country's governing body, Athletics South Africa.

But the sprinter -- who in May won the right to compete in the Games -- could still make it onto the South African 4x400-meter relay team, coach Ampie Louw said...

Monday, July 7, 2008

Bert Shepard: WWII veteran, baseball player, and amputee passes away

This news is a couple weeks old but still worth noting. Bert Shepard, a WWII veteran who lost his leg in combat and went on to pitch in a Major League Baseball game for the Washington Senators recently passed away.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Limb Difference News Round-up: Limbs for Life Auction

A collection of recent limb difference related news items:

  • Albany Times Union covers an ABS sufferer preparing for Beijing Paralympics
  • KNBC has a story and video on a veteran testing the i-LIMB hand
  • AP has a blurb on the Oklahoma City RedHawks auctioning jerseys to benefit Limbs for Life

Thursday, July 3, 2008

A Personal Call to a Prosthetic Invention

From the New York Times:

Van Phillips, 54, an amputee who can be seen running on the headlands here, 150 miles north of San Francisco, invented and wears the Cheetah foot, which has garnered worldwide attention and controversy as the prosthetic design used by Pistorius in his effort to compete against able-bodied athletes in Beijing.

“It would be the most exciting thing to happen in my life, because the C shape was the first foot in my mind,” Phillips said, referring to the concept he introduced in 1984.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Softball player inspires

From the Webster Post (NY):

...Sakina, 18, was born with a congenital defect to her left arm. She has to wear a prosthetic to play softball and do other activities.

Despite the physical disability, she doesn’t find playing sports all that hard.“I think it was just natural, I guess,” Sakina said. “My dad taught me how to throw. I use my prosthesis to bat...”

Friday, June 27, 2008

Military support helps produce next generation prosthetics

From the Christian Science Monitor:

Although Hugh Herr was a respected professor at Harvard Medical School, he says finding someone to bankroll a new prosthetic knee project was tough before the Iraq war. He could get funding from the prosthetic industry, but government sources showed little interest.

But a year and a half after the invasion of Iraq, the tides turned. The United States Department of Veterans Affairs provided the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and several other institutions with $7.2 million to study artificial arms and legs for amputees. The money, along with key technological innovations, has helped Dr. Herr, now an associate professor at the MIT Media Lab, create a powered ankle and knee, the next generation of prosthetics...

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Limb Difference Web Round-up: Young Amputees Demand the Best

A collection of limb difference related news from around the web:

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Holt-Oram Syndrome doesn't stop equestrian from chasing Olympic dreams

From the Bexley Times:

...Since the age of two Emma has attended the centre and she won her first competition representing Great Britain aged 16.

The riding centre has been given approved status as a pre-training venue for able-bodied athletes ahead of the London 2012 Olympics...

Update: Horse grant boost for paralympic hope

Saturday, June 21, 2008

A more natural prosthetic foot

Popular Science features inventor Jeremy Rifkin's advanced foot prosthetic. (Via medGadget)

...Working by night in a Boulder, Colorado, cabin, Rifkin built something that combined the natural step of a bionic foot with the simplicity and low cost of a mechanical prosthetic...

...Rifkin’s main concern now is with durability; a spring keeps popping, mostly because he nicks and weakens its cables during the amputee fittings. “If he can work out the durability issues,” says Stanford University prosthetist Gary Berke, “then it could be excellent for the active adult who wants to walk through the city or hike in the park.” As for Link, he’s moving on to tougher terrain. “It’s so natural, I can walk on a golf course.”
Click here to view a video of the foot in action.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Shriners Hospital Video

Shriners Hospital is featuring a version of this video in their latest fundraising email. It's well worth the watch to see the difference the organization is making in the lives of children with rare conditions like Leigh.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Amputees fight caps in coverage for prosthetics

From the Associated Press...

After bone cancer forced the amputation of her right leg below the knee, Eileen Casey got even more bad news: Her insurer told her that she had spent her $10,000 lifetime coverage limit on her temporary limb and that the company wouldn't pay for a permanent one.

"It was shocking to find out I was going to have to take out a loan to buy myself a leg so I could keep working and living independently," Casey said. At the bank, she said, she burst into tears when they asked what the loan was for.

Since then, Casey has joined a nationwide fight by amputees and the prosthetics industry to get the states and Congress to require fuller coverage for artificial limbs. The insurance industry is fighting the effort, saying such mandates drive up costs and reduce the flexibility customers want...

...Simple prosthetic limbs range in cost from about $3,000 to $15,000. Those that are more mechanically advanced, or come with embedded computer chips, can cost up to $40,000. Expenses can grow further because many patients need new artificial limbs or sockets when the stump to which the prosthetic is attached shrinks or otherwise changes shape. This is especially a problem in children...

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Womb surgery 'saves baby's leg'

From BBC News...

Australian surgeons saved the leg of an unborn baby by operating when her mother was just 22 weeks pregnant.

The surgery was carried out after the foetus developed a rare condition in which stray bands of tissue wrap around limbs and cut off blood flow.

Melbourne's Monash Medical Centre used lasers to cut away the tissue from the left leg, but left the right leg as the bands were too deeply embedded.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Bionic hand wins top tech prize

From BBC News...

The world's most advanced, commercially available, bionic hand has won the UK's top engineering prize. The i-LIMB, a prosthetic device with five ndividually powered digits, beat three other finalists to win this year's MacRobert award...

...The complex device finally went on sale in July 2007. It is produced by a company called Touch Bionics based in Mid Calder, Livingston. "It's such a fantastic invention," Ray Edwards, a quadruple amputee and one of the first people in the UK to be fitted with the device, told BBC News. "When the arm was put on, I had tears rolling down my face. It was the first time in 21 years that I had seen a hand open. "I can do a thumbs-up, I can hold a pen and I can do many things that I ouldn't do before..."

...The firm is now looking to improve the design of the i-Limb as well as expanding its range of smart prosthetics. "We are working a full-arm system - we have a prototype wrist, elbow and shoulder," said Mr. (Stuart) Mead.

i-Limb Hand Interview

The One Handed Blogger is interviewed about the i-Limb...

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Tennis player dictates points despite missing limb

From the Collegiate Times...

Muscle pulls and cramping are often grounds to remove oneself from a tennis match, but try asking Virginia Tech's No. 4 tennis starter what it's like to play with a missing limb.

Losing her left arm from the elbow down at birth to Amniotic Band Syndrome, J.J. Larson knew she had to make do with what she had...

....As Larson grew up, her mother, Susie, noticed that even when she was given lemons, J.J. Larson figured out a way to make lemonade, and hardships couldn't stand in her way.

"She never complained," Susie Larson said. "Just adjusted to the situation."

"She was determined to get back out there and become even better from that situation," Zawacki-Woods said.

"It's hard to keep her down and hard to keep her off the court."

Fortunately for Larson, this was no departure from how she'd been living her life since she was a child.

For starters, she's defied the paradox of serving with the use of but one hand and forearm, only to make it a strength — with some help from prosthetics.

Her appendage, forged from plastic and rubber, forms an open semi-circle at the hand on which she rests the tennis ball.

From there, she merely catapults the ball into the air and clobbers a blistering serve that has been clocked at nearly 100 miles per hour.

"When you toss the ball, your hand has all this motion," Larson said.

"Well, this hand doesn't have any motion. It (the serve toss) goes to the same place every time."

Limb Difference Web Round-Up: Prosthetic Parity Efforts Across the Country

A collection of recent limb difference related items from around the web:

  • ACA launches federal prosthetic parity legislative push
  • Nebraska and Iowa amputees hope for help with insurance caps on prosthetics
  • Tennessee prosthetic parity supporters launch their state effort

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Limb Difference Web Round-up

A collection of recent limb difference related items from around the web:

  • Utah legistlative committee rejects prosthetic parity legislation
  • Parent authors children's book on limb differences
  • Adoptive parent chronicles the struggles of bringing a child with ABS to the U.S. from Russia

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Limb Difference Web Round-up: Inspiring Athletes; New Jersey Extends Prosthetic Coverage

A collection of recent limb difference related items from around the web:

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Limb Difference Web Round-Up: Budding Movie Star

A collection of recent limb difference related items from around the web:

Monday, January 14, 2008

Pistorius officially banned

Not unexpectedly, Oscar Pistorius has been officially banned from Olympic qualifying events...

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Limb Difference Web Round-up: Prosthetics Struggle Down Under

A collection of limb difference related items from around the web: