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Julie Rogers: My prosthesis and me

“When I made the switch to athletics I needed something different”

“I was born without the tibia and fibula bones in my right leg, and my leg was amputated when I was two years old. At aged five, I had a second amputation above the knee so that I could be fitted with a more advanced prosthetic limb with a robotic knee. This made walking much easier but my regular prosthesis isn’t suitable for running, so when I made the switch from sitting volleyball to athletics I needed something different.

“Choosing my prosthesis provider ultimately came down to reputation. I’d heard great things about Ottobock and Pace Rehabilitation and I was thrilled when they agreed to sponsor me. I have a lot of trust in them, which is important.”

“Learning how to use it was easy – but learning how to use it well was a different story”

“My advanced running system is very different to my walking prosthesis. It’s a lot lighter and it has a carbon fibre blade at the bottom instead of a foot, which gives you more of a bouncing effect for running. The knee is also more ‘free flowing’ with less resistance. It’s tailored to me and my competing style, the fitters at Pace Rehabilitation fit it personally to my weight, size and power strength, and put it all together.

“I’ve had my running prosthesis for a few years now, since July 2013, and I adapted quite well. It definitely is strange at first though, the mechanics are different and you need to use different muscles. Learning how to use it didn’t take very long – but learning how to use it well was a different story! Even now I’m still learning and working to get my time lower and lower, which will hopefully result in me being selected for Rio 2016.”

“I do lots of things that your typical amputee wouldn’t”

“There’s definitely a knack to using an advanced running prosthesis, and the main challenge was learning to put my trust into it. You need to let the prosthesis take all your weight and it takes a while to develop that trust at first. It’s all part of the process though, I’ve gone from being initially nervous to being ranked the 4th fastest sprinter in my category.

“Both my advanced running and my walking prosthesis are really durable and they’re made to last, but I’m still growing so I’ll probably need new ones eventually. They even withstand all the extra pressure I put them under, I’m really active and I do lots of things that your typical amputee perhaps wouldn’t!

“The next step for me is to continue my training with my advanced running prosthesis and I hope to be selected for Great Britain at either junior or senior level. The long term goal is to compete at the 2016 Paralympic Games.”

Julie Rogers’ prosthesis is insured on a specialist insurance policy with Fish Insurance.

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