Sports News

Content provided by The O&P EDGE
Current Issue - Free Subscription - Free eNewsletter - Advertise

One Arm Trap Shoot a Blast

During a break in the trash talk, the shooters pose for a picture. Photograph courtesy of the Upper Extremity National Outreach Coalition.
During a break in the trash talk, the shooters pose for a picture. Photograph courtesy of the Upper Extremity National Outreach Coalition.

The second annual North Country One Arm Trap Shoot, presented by UpperEx National Outreach Coalition, was held August 35 in Wautoma, Wisconsin. The event attracted 20 upper-extremity amputees and their families from as far away as Ohio and Pennsylvania for a weekend of fun, fellowship, and some great competition.

Six shooters and their cheering sections trekked into the woods for three hours of shooting, hooting, hollering, laughing, and trash talking. Their fine shooting skills were on display as well.

In the below-elbow division, Doug Davis of Saukville, Wisconsin, took first place, followed by Eric Westover of Maple Grove, Minnesota, and Sean McHugh of Catasauqua, Pennsylvania. In the above-elbow division, the competition came down to the last shooting stand, where second-year shooter Bob Owens edged out fellow Milwaukean Tom Murphy by one clay. Randy Kurtzweil, also of Milwaukee, finished third.

Said Jim Myers of the three-day event, "It was surprisingly emotional for me, and it sort of brought out issues for me that I may have repressed for a long time."

Sheret Continues Trek, Appears on Larry King

Dan Sheret seems to have harnessed the most potent powers of both Indiana Jones and a postal carrier, and he's developed into an unstoppable cycling machine. Larry King noticed.

So far during the United States portion of his yearlong, worldwide AbilityTrek 2007 tour, which began June 1, Sheret, a long-distance cyclist and amputee, has survived lightning storms, a mountain lion, and scorching temperatures, all while logging as many as 120 miles per day. That's enough to get a guy his own television show—or barring that, an appearance on one.

Sheret detailed his wild ride across the United States July 27 on CNN's Larry King Live . Sheret spent much of June cycling through the South, but a lightning storm in the Midwest forced him to take cover in a ditch for more than an hour as the storm passed. One ride was highlighted by a mountain lion tracking Sheret along his route.

Following the U.S. tour, Sheret will depart for a tour of Southeast Asia. For more information about Ability Trek, visit  www.abilitytrek.org

Sign Up for the 20th Hartford Ski Spectacular

Disabled Sports USA (DS/USA) will celebrate the 20th year of The Hartford Ski Spectacular with one of the largest winter sports festivals for people with disabilities in the nation December 29 at Beaver Run Resort in Breckenridge, Colorado.

New at The Hartford Ski Spectacular is the National Racing Festival, a mid-level development camp with a learn-to-race segment. The festival gives aspiring racers of all abilities the chance to advance their skills alongside the best disabled skiers and coaches in the country. All participants are urged to pre-register by Friday, November 9.

For downloadable registration forms, visit  www.dsusa.org/programs-winter-hartford.html. For additional information, contact Adam Scott at 240.268.1250,  intern@dsusa.org.

Pistorius Agrees to Testing of Prostheses

South Africa's Oscar Pistorius wears his racing legs prior to the 100m dash at the Visa Paralympic World Cup, Manchester, England. ANDREW YATES/AFP/Getty Images
South Africa's Oscar Pistorius wears his racing legs prior to the 100m dash at the Visa Paralympic World Cup, Manchester, England. ANDREW YATES/AFP/Getty Images

Oscar Pistorius, the South African Paralympian world-record holder with eyes on the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China, agreed to allow the International Association of Athletic Federations (IAFF) to test his carbon-fiber racing legs.

Pistorius, who owns world records for disabled athletes in the 100m (10.91 seconds), 200m (21.58), and 400m (46.56) dash, competed against elite, able-bodied sprinters July 15 at the Norwich Union Grand Prix in Sheffield, England. But the race was a disappointment, with Pistorius finishing last on a rain-soaked track before being disqualified for running outside his lane. After the race, the IAFF released a statement saying it wanted to investigate whether or not Pistorius' Ossur Cheetah® Flex-Sprint™ III carbon fiber legs gave him an unfair advantage. Video analysis appeared to show Pistorius' racing legs provided less air resistance than able-bodied runners.

Pistorius, along with his scientific advisers, will work with specialist Professor Peter Bruggemann in Cologne, Germany, over several days of testing, with the data analysis to take around three weeks.

O&P Extremity Games Turn Out Golden

Extremity Games photographs courtesy of Hanger Prosthetics & Orthotics Inc.
Extremity Games photographs courtesy of Hanger Prosthetics & Orthotics Inc.

All eyes turned to the skies above Orlando, Florida, for some aerial acrobatics during the three-day 2007 O&P Extremity Games. The inspirational Dana Bowman and Eric Robinson, president of founding sponsor College Park Industries (CPI), found a perfect way to energize the games by skydiving into the action in front of close to a thousand spectators, participants, volunteers, and sponsors July 19-21.

"We jumped out at about 7,500 feet to the target," Bowman said. "It was Eric's first time skydiving. He was scared, he was pumped up—so we had to mess with him a little bit."

With more than 3,000 jumps, including more than 1,000 since losing his legs, Bowman is no stranger to the skies. But Robinson never had planned on "jumping out of a perfectly fine airplane," and admitted to some second thoughts before taking the plunge.

"It was one of those things that if you thought too much about it, you probably wouldn't have done it," Robinson said.

This was the second year Robinson and CPI took on the huge task of producing the Games, which he called "a mind-numbing and life-changing experience" for many people. That held true for Bowman, who travels the country and the world as a motivational speaker. But these Games had a special affect even on him.

"No matter who you are, what you are, or what your status is, you can go out there and do whatever you want to do," said Bowman, a bilateral amputee who lost his legs in a frightening mid-air collision while with the Golden Knights, the U.S. Army's elite parachuting team.

Extremity Games photographs courtesy of Hanger Prosthetics & Orthotics Inc.
Extremity Games photographs courtesy of Hanger Prosthetics & Orthotics Inc.

Organized to raise awareness of the ability of individuals with limb loss or limb difference to compete in extreme sports, and to highlight the state-of-the-art prosthetic devices available today, the O&P Extremity Games included a large number of X Games-style competitions and clinics—from rock climbing and wakeboarding to new additions such as surfing and motocross—and more than $45,000 in cash and prizes. This is the second year of the event, and the number of registered national and international athletes jumped 60 percent, from 90 participants in 2006 to more than 150 this year. The Games had an international flair this year with athletes coming from around the world, including Brazil and France.

Held during the rainy season in Florida, Mother Nature cooperated only in part as volunteers had to scramble to keep the courses and participants dry. Each day before the events, storms rolled in and lightning lit up the sky. But the weather dried up before the actual competition. "I don't know if it's luck or just good karma, but it seems like we have a golden cloud over us," CPI's Stephanie Wallace said.

Extremity Games photographs courtesy of Hanger Prosthetics & Orthotics Inc.
Extremity Games photographs courtesy of Hanger Prosthetics & Orthotics Inc.

Jim Wazny of Merrill, Michigan, was honored with the Jeff Winfield Green Friendship Award, developed by SPS, Alpharetta, Georgia, and MLT Enterprises, St. Cloud, Minnesota, to recognize the late colleague and friend. The recipient, nominated by his peers and fellow athletes, is an "individual whose outgoing personality and friendly&attitude makes everyone they come in contact with feel better," according to SPS. SPS will make a $1,000 charitable donation in Wazny's name. Wazny, 60, was the oldest of the competitors, but he cruised through his rock-climbing and kayaking events with ease.

Dozens of sponsors made these Games possible, including Endolite, Fillauer, Hanger Orthopedic Group Inc., Ossur, Ohio Willow Wood, and Wright & Filippis, among many others. Still, Robinson said more and larger sponsors will be needed to make the 2008 Extremity Games a reality.

"When everybody was leaving they would say, 'See you next year.' And I would say back, 'See you next time,' " Robinson said. "I don't know if we can do it again."

Robinson said CPI and Extremity Events Network Inc. contributed roughly $200,000 of its own funds on top of the $200,000 from sponsors. A major sponsor, Robinson said, will be needed for next year.

Brady Delander

From Camper to Counselor at the ACA Youth Camp


Weekend Brings Young Amputees Together and Boosts Confidence


Campers and counselors take part in a friendly game of basketball at the ACA Youth Camp. Photos courtesy of ACA.
Campers and counselors take part in a friendly game of basketball at the ACA Youth Camp. Photos courtesy of ACA.

The Amputee Coalition of America (ACA) Youth Camp helped Jamal Maccou get back on solid footing, and now he is helping other children and teenagers do the same.

Between Christmas Day and New Year's Eve in 2000, an automobile accident resulted in the amputation of Maccou's left leg above the knee. In the painful and trying years of rehabilitation that followed, he made a great deal of progress but never felt like his old self.

"When the accident first happened, my confidence was pretty low," says Maccou, 18, who lives in Illinois. "I felt like an outsider." That all changed five years ago when Maccou took part in his first ACA camp, where he found he was no different from anyone else. After four years as a camper, he returned in 2007 as a junior counselor for five days of non-stop action and activities, July 18-22 at Camp Dream in Warm Springs, Georgia.

"I love this camp," Maccou says. "As the first year at camp progressed, I realized that [limb loss] wasn't anything that was really going to slow me down."

Wheelchair basketball was one of the many activities campers enjoyed at the ACA camp.
Wheelchair basketball was one of the many activities campers enjoyed at the ACA camp.

More than 60 children with limb differences between the ages of 10 and 16 converged on the camp from 26 states across the country. In its eighth year, ACA's Youth Camp is run by the Youth Activities Program (YAP) and offers a wide variety of physical and recreational activities and team-building exercises, including wheelchair rugby, basketball, swimming, and canoeing. "We thought about a campfire, but it's usually 90-95 degrees out there this time of year," says Derrick Stowell, MS, CTRS, ACA's YAP coordinator. "That's a little too hot."

Golf and tennis were introduced this summer, but the camp is more than just fun and games. Educational sessions concerning nutrition and informal support group meetings are offered, as are chances to learn from peers and adult amputee mentors.

Kimmie Champion, who says she has "the best last name ever," heard about the camp from her prosthetist and made her first trip there last summer. Champion was immediately hooked, mainly because she enjoyed working with the younger campers, but also because it was her first experience of being surrounded by others with limb loss or limb differences.

"It was a little unusual at first. Other than my prosthetist, I only know one other girl with a prosthesis in my town [in Georgia]," says Champion, 18. "Last year as a camper I fell in love with the younger girls. That's what I like most, to help the little girls learn something."

Stowell, who said he found a perfect mix of working in the outdoors and mentoring children when he joined the ACA and YAP in September of 2006, enjoys watching the campers work their way through the various activities. But it is the friendships that are forged and the lines of communication that are opened that matter most.

"The biggest part is the interaction with other amputees," Stowell said. "Some children might not know another amputee until they come here."

In a 1996 fact sheet from the National Limb Loss Information Center (NLLIC), the latest available, an estimated 70,000 children with limb loss or limb difference between the ages of six and 18 live in the United States.

Sponsored by Ohio Willow Wood, Otto Bock Healthcare, and the restaurant chain Denny's, and partially funded by the Centers for Disease and Prevention, the ACA Youth Camp began in 2000 as the Youth Initiative, a satellite program offered at the annual ACA Educational Conference & Exposition. The camp has grown into a six-day event, including travel days for the campers and training sessions for the counselors that bookend a series of outdoor activities.

"I love it here so much," Champion says. "After learning so much and meeting so many different people, I really want to become a physical therapist. I'll always be able to help other people that way."

Brady Delander

Bookmark and Share