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At the end of this chapter, all students are expected to:

  1. Describe appropriate prosthetic components for sports and leisure activities for any patient with an amputation.

  2. Refer patients to appropriate sports organizations and websites for the disabled.

Physical Therapy students are expected to:

  1. Outline a training program to improve strength, balance, and endurance without increasing the risk of injury for any amputee interested in returning to sports activities.

  2. Identify accessory equipment that might assist in sports participation.


Richard Canto, the 20-year-old soldier who lost his left leg as a result of a roadside bomb in Iraq, is now 8 months postamputation. He is doing well with his prosthesis and is currently going through reclassification as he wants to stay in the Army. He has learned from his fellow service members that many of them participate in the Challenged Athletes Foundation San Diego Triathlon Challenge, where for more than 20 years, over 100 other amputee athletes have swum, cycled, and run with hundreds of able-bodied athletes. They compete in teams of three athletes, each athlete competing in one event. In high school, Richard played football and baseball, and now he wants to train for all three events so he can compete with some fellow service members. He has 9 months to train for the triathlon event. The spirit of the event is not to win but to participate with people who share similar life experiences.

Angie Thompson is a 56-year-old, right-handed female with a left transfemoral amputation performed 14 months ago secondary to peripheral vascular disease without diabetes. She has a history of hypertension; however, she has lost weight through diet and exercise over the past year and is ready to return to sports. She has lived in New Hampshire all her life; she was an avid golfer and alpine skier prior to limb loss and would like to return to both sports. Her doctor has cleared her to participate but suggests that she progress slowly.

Case Study Activities

All Students:

  1. Describe why training for an event like the Challenged Athletes Foundation San Diego Triathlon Challenge is more appropriate for Richard than the Paralympics.

  2. Describe the special prosthetic components each person would need for the selected activities.

  3. Describe skiing techniques that would best be used by Angie.

Physical Therapy Students:

  1. Develop a training program for each patient.

Innovation in surgical techniques, assistive technology, and physical rehabilitation has afforded people with disabilities great opportunities to participate in leisure activities and sports than any prior generation. Unfortunately, in the United States, the gap between people with disabilities who participate in regular exercise and those who do not appears to continue to widen. Obesity is ranked among the top ten leading health indicators by Healthy People 2010.1 Obesity increases the risk for type 2 diabetes, hypertension, dyslipidemia, cardiovascular disease, respiratory problems, osteoarthritis, and lowers life expectancy.2...

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