Kormylo Advanced Prosthetics and Orthotics - February 2020


February 2020

No Challenge Left Unattempted Getting the Right Training and the Right Prosthesis for Spartan Races

Ever since I could comprehend what sports were, I wanted to be an athlete. When I played softball, basketball, water polo, or whatever other sport I could be a part of, my teammates felt like family. I’ve also never been one to leave a challenge unattempted. My first thought whenever I learn about a race or another event is always “let's give this a try.” I don’t sell myself short, and even after I had my lower right leg amputated, I decided I wanted to try a Spartan race. I’m grateful to Advanced Prosthetics & Orthotics, as well as the Challenged Athlete Foundation, for making it possible for me to continue doing the things I love, even as an amputee. A series of medical conditions combined with my constant athletic training led me to eventually have my lower right leg amputated. I had a bone infection in the ankle, and doctors had to fuse some of my ankle bones together to help it heal. That meant I had very restricted ankle movement — but I kept running on it anyway. Ever since I moved to the Boise area four years ago, I’ve loved hiking and running on the Boise foothills. The fused ankle bones changed my foot mechanics, causing multiple breaks that wouldn't heal. Finally, I was faced with a decision: keep my leg and spend my life in pain and curtail all of my physical activities, or have my leg amputated and continue doing the sports I loved. I chose to amputate. I’ve since been able to walk, run, and compete with a lower leg prosthesis. However, in sports like basketball and softball, there’s a potential for me to hurt others if they come into contact with the prosthesis, so I decided to try Spartan races. While my latest athletic interest was initially met with a few eye rolls, no one doubted I could run a Spartan race, and I received a lot of support from family and friends. For those unfamiliar, a Spartan race is like the ultimate event. It’s a race dotted with obstacles and challenges that push participants to their limits in terms of both strength and endurance. A 5K Spartan race is called a “sprint,” and it usually has 20 obstacles throughout where participants may have to climb

cargo nets, carry atlas balls or throw spears — just to name a few. I love how Spartan races involve the whole body.

It helps to have specialized OCR, or obstacle course training, to get ready for a Spartan race, as well as a specialized running leg. Getting access to both of those things was where the Challenged Athlete Foundation (CAF) and Kormylo Advanced

Prosthetics & Orthotics came in. Brittany Tilden, one of the CPOs (Certified Prosthetist Orthotist) at Advanced Prosthetics & Orthotics, first told me about CAF. She said if I applied for one of their grants, I could get a new prosthesis and pay for the cost of training for a Spartan race. The more I looked into CAF, the more I liked what they did. I especially liked how they worked with child athletes with disabilities and gave them outlets to pursue the sports they loved.

With the help of CAF and Advanced Prosthetics & Orthotics, I was able to complete the Boise Sprint, a Spartan race in Payette, in June of last year. I’m grateful for their help in making it possible, and I'm especially grateful to Brittany for helping me find the right leg. I am also thankful for Jen Harmon for always pushing me and motivating me. I hope to run another Spartan race coming up in Seattle very soon. No one is as limited in what they do as they think they are. With the right tools, training, and help from the right people, you don’t have to leave any challenge unattempted.

–Kelly McMains

“I've also never been one to leave a challenge unattempted. My first thought whenever I learn about a race or another event is always ‘let's give this a try.’”

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