No Water Legs? No Problem. Swimming & Water Sports for Everyone

Swimming with ProsthesisAh, summer. It’s 86 degrees out, the sun is strong, and your thoughts naturally turn to cooling off in cool, refreshing water. Maybe it’s jumping off a diving board or the back of a boat, or simply lazing in the pool. When you are an amputee, though, you have questions about your prosthesis. Can it get wet? Will it get damaged if you just dive in? Is any of this covered by your warranty? And, what can you do if wearing your prosthesis is not an option? How will you swim, waterski, and dive without it? Is there such a thing as a prosthetic leg for swimming? ‘

The good news is that you have options. Let’s start with the basics.

Waterproof Prosthesis
Rob’s first time in water with prosthesis

 

While you can provide some minimal water protection for your prosthetic limb by using a cover, it cannot waterproof it. Moreover, if you do get water into your prosthetic device, it can cause rust and damage to the working components and the resulting damage will most likely not be covered by your warranty. There are waterproof prosthetic limbs available, however, these are normally viewed as non-essential, they are often not covered by insurance. A great example of a completely waterproof prosthetic knee is the Ottobock X3, for above knee amputees, which can be submerged and used in nearly any water-based activity. To determine whether your insurance will cover a specialized prosthesis like this, consult your prosthetics provider.

Waterproof Prosthetic Legs in pool
Waterproof Prosthetic Legs in Pool

 

There are water-resistant prosthetic limbs that can protect from minimal water exposure (such as walking through a puddle or a rainstorm), but they fall short of withstanding water immersion, and water damage can still void your warranty. We advise caution here, especially if you are looking for a watersport solution.

There is another alternative to using your prosthesis for swimming or water sports and that’s leaving it at home. In fact, many amputees find that with some modifications, they can plunge right back into water sports such as waterskiing, wakeboarding, diving, swimming, and boating.

Water sports with Prosthesis
Patricia’s first summer at their beach house

The prospect of adapting to a sport without a limb might be intimidating, especially for those of you with more recent limb loss, but you would be amazed at what you can do with time, practice, and a few adjustments. It’s also an opportunity to just take a break from prosthetic wear and management.

Don’t let concerns about the “how” keep you from enjoying the joys of water in the summer. We’re happy to talk with you about how you can get back out there.

 

 

 

Spring Sports for Amputees

veteran amputee golfWho isn’t psyched for longer days, warmer temperatures, and the chance to get back out there and enjoy our favorite spring sports and activities? It’s also a great way to connect with other athletes and enjoy the camaraderie of taking on challenges together. If you’re ready to explore something new or are a more recent amputee ready to get active, you probably have some questions about your options, what you’ll need, and where you can go to find the resources and programs that are just right for you. To help, we’ve put together a list of some of our favorite resources with the information and sports activities guaranteed to help get athletes at any level back on the field.

Disabled Sports USA has valuable information on many diverse sports – both the popular and a little off the beaten path (Boccia anyone?). This is a great place to start with questions on what to expect and what preparation/equipment you will need. Be sure to check out adaptive sport locations here.

Adaptive Sports New England is dedicated to encouraging more participation in sports among youth and those with visual or mobility challenges. Here you’ll find a regional calendar with events ranging from basketball to archery. Want to get inspired? Check out this page of New England athletes who competed for Team USA in the 2016 Paralympics. Continue reading “Spring Sports for Amputees”

How I Trained For Paralympic Sprinting – Muji Karim

My training schedule leading up to the paralympic trials was really intense. I was on the track five days a week and did many different variations of sprints. My sprints were all based around speed, endurance and technique.

In order to prepare I did double of every workout I was supposed to be doing. If I was supposed to do 8, I would do 16 an if others did 5, I would do 10. This is because I know a lot of guys who I was competing against have had 5, 10 even 20 years in these in these prosthetics. For me to get where I wanted to be, when I wanted to be there, I needed to do much more. Continue reading “How I Trained For Paralympic Sprinting – Muji Karim”

Training for Paralympics – Muji Karim

It never crossed my mind that I wouldn’t be on the 2016 USA Paralympics team.  It honestly never ever crossed my mind at all that it wouldn’t happen.

Everything that I have been known for since my accident is about picking yourself up. After many of my disappointments or not making the cut I’ve made adjustments and got back up. That’s always the next step for me. Continue reading “Training for Paralympics – Muji Karim”

Leave It on the Ice – Amputee Hockey

Amputee HockeyThere is nothing like the sheer competitiveness and exhilaration of hockey, or being a hockey player. No other sport comes close to it – combining the ease of gliding and lightning-fast passes with the heart-pumping percussion of body checks and slamming against the boards.  Where else would you see fans cheering the sweaty player in the penalty box or raucously sharing in the adrenaline of a gloves-off fight on the ice? No wonder hockey players wear their scars proudly as badges of honor. Once hockey is in your blood, it is there to stay; once a hockey player, always a hockey player. Continue reading “Leave It on the Ice – Amputee Hockey”

Shred It!

Amputee SnowboardingThe exhilaration of carving up a slope, air, shredding – if snowboarding was part of your life before you lost a limb, what now?  What once seemed so natural might now look like a nearly impossible task. How will you keep a prosthetic leg in place while rushing down a hill at over 20 miles an hour? How will your limb difference affect your balance? What if you are a double amputee? There’s good news. Amputee snowboarding is not only possible, you can be as competitive as your drive and ability take you. If you missed this video in our earlier post, check out this amputee snowboarder for some inspiration. Continue reading “Shred It!”

Are Your Snow Legs Ready?

Amputee AthleticsFrozen lakes, snow covered mountains, woods transformed into a frosted wonderland – what are you waiting for? We’re well into the winter season in New England and it’s time to get outside and seize the snow!  Whether you are a novice or an expert athlete, a prosthetic limb (or two) should be the last thing holding you back from doing what you love. Winter sports for amputees have come a long way as have the quality and fit of prostheses. In fact, many amputees are pleasantly surprised when they find they can participate in the same activities they enjoyed before at an intensity only limited by their individual drive and desire.  Whether you want to ski, skate, snowshoe, play sled hockey, or tackle any other winter sport, a little knowledge and proper preparation can put you on the fast track to winter fun. With the right fit and the proper equipment and training, you’ll navigate the snow, ice, and those crazy inclines with ease. (Want some inspiration? Check out the way this snowboarder masters the slopes.)

Here are just a few of our favorite winter sports along with tips and links on how to get training and support to take you to the next level. For more information, download our free guide to competing in adaptive sportsContinue reading “Are Your Snow Legs Ready?”

Advice for Amputees Getting Started in Adaptive Sports


Muji Karim, a double amputee and avid runner discusses and shares insight into how he started running again as a new amputee. Muji shares his insight on how others can achieve their goals of competing in high-level adaptive sports.

“My advice for any amputee who is getting started in adaptive sports and doesn’t have his or her sports-specific prosthetics yet would be too just get started. You can begin basic strength and conditioning training on your own and don’t need a running leg or other prosthetics to get your body in shape. In most cases, you can begin training on your own and you will notice a big difference once you start to become more adjusted in your new legs or arms.”

Continue reading “Advice for Amputees Getting Started in Adaptive Sports”

Rio 2016: – Who to Watch

The 2016 Paralympic Games will take place from September 7 – 18 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It is being called, “A once-in-a-lifetime experience to witness unimaginable athletic performances.” The 2016 Games are set to be the biggest yet with more than 4,300 athletes competing in 22 sports.

As part of the global media coverage reaching billions of views in more than hundred countries, NBC and NBCSN will show 66 hours of amazing Paralympic events. This represents an increase of 60.5 hours from the coverage of the London 2012 Paralympic Games, and more interest by viewers around the world than ever.

Largest Paralympics in History

Rio will host the largest ever Paralympic Games, with athletes from over 170 countries competing in more than 20 sports ranging from archery and judo to sitting volleyball and wheelchair fencing.

Athletes to Watch

With such a large roster of athletes looking to make their mark on the world, there are sure to be clear stand-outs as well as some surprises. Here are some of the most notable athletes representing the USA at the 2016 Paralympic GamesContinue reading “Rio 2016: – Who to Watch”

Best New England Hikes for Amputees

There couldn’t be a better time to live in or travel to New England than the fall. The season lifts the spirits of New Englanders who know that snow and cold are on their way, and also draws in thousands of tourists from across the country. Visitors and residents all enjoy changing leaves, crisp autumn air, festivals, and pumpkin picking.

Fall is also the perfect time to enjoy a scenic hike. Here is a list of the best New England hikes for amputees to get you started on finding the perfect trail for your next outdoor adventure:

Continue reading “Best New England Hikes for Amputees”