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Amputee Athlete Competes in The Amazing Race

Ossur, Aliso Viejo, California, congratulates Sarah Reinertsen on her selection as the first amputee to take part in CBS's Emmy-winning reality series, The Amazing Race. Reinertsen previously was a marketing manager for Ossur North America and also is a member of Team Ossur, a group of elite amputee athletes sponsored by the company. She paired up for the show with good friend and former work colleague, Peter Harsch, CP, an Ossur clinical prosthetist whose many responsibilities include looking after Team Ossur members.

On the show, the two took on a series of stiff physical challenges in destinations throughout the world. Challenge is not new to Reinertsen, 31, who lost her leg at age seven due to a birth defect. With a talent for both sprinting and distance running, she's medaled and broken records in the Paralympic Games, and in 2006 was the first female amputee to finish Hawaii's grueling Ironman triathlon. Reinertsen, an above-the-knee amputee, competed in The Amazing Race on an Ossur TOTAL KNEE 2000 and a TALUX FOOT.

Harsch, 35, was Reinertsen's co-competitor at the Ironman competition, also completing the punishing swim/bike/run event. The pair filmed The Amazing Race earlier in the year, getting Reinertsen back in the US in time to pick up her 2006 ESPY award as Best Female Athlete with a Disability.

To follow Reinertsen and Harsch's progress on The Amazing Race, tune in to the show on Sunday nights on CBS or visit www.cbs.com/primetime/amazing_race10

 

Study Reveals Leg Pain Factors for Women in Sports

Female college athletes participating in three popular fall sports—cross-country running, field hockey, and volleyball—are more likely to experience exercise-related leg pain than those who play soccer, according to a study in the September issue of The American Journal of Sports Medicine.

Other risk factors for exercise-related leg pain, more commonly known as "shin splints," were a prior history of this condition and excessive pronation of the foot, concludes author Mark F.Reinking, PhD, PT, SCS, ATC, of the Department of Physical Therapy, Saint Louis University, St. Louis, Missouri. Age of athlete, body mass index, menstrual function, and bone mineral density were among the factors found not to be related to leg pain among the female collegiate athletes studied.

The results of this study may prompt further research into the use of orthotic devices to control foot pronation, Reinking writes.

"Exercise-related leg pain (ERLP) is often described qualitatively as common' in athletes," says Reinking, "but this is only the second study of its kind to quantitatively describe the condition and identify the risk factors for it. The history and incidence data from this study support the notion that ERLP is common among female athletes."

The American Journal of Sports Medicine is the monthly peer-reviewed scientific journal of the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM).

For more information, visit www.sportsmed.org

 

CAF Athletes Participate in Accenture Chicago Triathlon

by Sherry Metzger, MS

Chicago Triathlon teammates Steve Rice, Melissa Stockwell, and Andy Hatcher.
Chicago Triathlon teammates Steve Rice, Melissa Stockwell, and Andy Hatcher.

In August, more than 8,000 competitors raced along Lakeshore Drive in Chicago, Illinois, during the Accenture Chicago Triathlon, the largest triathlon in the US.

Competitors included disabled athletes from the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF), based in San Diego, California. Before the Chicago Triathlon, CAF and soldiers involved with its Operation Rebound program participated in the Accenture Escape from

Alcatraz Triathlon, San Francisco, California, and the Nautica New York City Triathlon, New York, for the second year. Each year CAF hosts the San Diego

Triathlon Challenge, San Diego, California, a half-Ironman distance triathlon and a major fundraiser for CAF. CAF, in partnership with the USA Triathlon Paralympic Team, also held multi-sport clinics for physically challenged children and adults at these triathlons.

The clinics, sponsored by Accenture, paired CAF mentors with physically challenged athletes interested in learning about adaptive sports. "The mentors are elite-level athletes and some soldiers who are experienced athletes," explained Lauren Henne, CAF marketing manager. "They introduce themselves and athletics to interested attendees. The clinics serve to educate the public and show what is possible." In Chicago, the clinics included hand cycles, spin cycles, a running course, demonstrations, and an opportunity for attendees to try the equipment while obtaining tips on their technique. More than 75 athletes with disabilities participated in these clinics in San Francisco, New York, and Chicago.

Injured Soldiers Participate

Of the eight CAF athletes that participated in the Chicago triathlon, six were soldiers in CAF's Operation Rebound program that "provides post-rehabilitation support and mentorship to American soldiers and veterans who suffered traumatic injuries in Afghanistan or Iraq resulting in a permanent physical disability," according to CAF's website, www.challengedathletes.org. Maj. David Rozelle, Anthony Odierno, and Rich Ingram raced individually, completing swim, run, and biking portions of the race. Melissa Stockwell, Andy Hatcher, and Stephen Rice teamed up to complete the race relay-style. Stockwell, who is training to make the 2008 US Paralympic Swim Team, swam 1.2 miles in Monroe Harbor along the seawall. Hatcher, a transtibial amputee, biked a distance of 24.8 miles along Lakeshore Drive. Rice, also a transtibial amputee, crossed the finish line in Grant Park after a 6.2-mile run through the Museum Campus. Sarah Reinertsen and Rudy Garcia-Tolson, "non-soldiers" among the CAF crew, also completed the triathlon.

Twenty-six-year-old Stockwell, who lost her left leg in April of 2004 after her Humvee hit a roadside bomb and crashed into an Iraqi woman's home, joined Operation Rebound last year and has since competed in three triathlons. She completed all three events in the San Diego Triathlon, but now focuses on her swimming. "It was the greatest feeling of accomplishment," she said. "I had never tried to complete a triathlon when I had two legs, and there I was with only one leg, competing right beside able-bodied athletes."

Now medically retired from the military, Stockwell is a full-time prosthetics student in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where she lives with her husband of three years. "When you lose a big part of yourself like your leg, you don't really know what you'll be able to do, but competing gives you an amazing sense of accomplishment," she said. "I'm adjusting to life with one leg. I'm enjoying life and proving that [the amputation] is not going to stop me from living a full life. CAF is a wonderful organization that motivated me to get back into athletics, and I thank them for getting me back out there."

CAF-sponsored athletes left a memorable impression on other race participants and spectators at the event. One woman commented, "It was such an inspiration to see men and women with prosthetic limbs crossing the finish line!"

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