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.