Better Care

LimbPower lends amputees new lease of life

Amputee patients who attend West Midlands Rehabilitation Centre for assessment and therapy have had their passion for exercise and sport reignited after attending a local multisport event.

Launched in 2009, LimbPower gives amputees and individuals with limb impairments the chance to take part in physical activity, sport and the arts. It aims to improve quality of life and to aid lifelong rehabilitation.

The annual adult LimbPower event at Small Heath Wellbeing Centre offered an opportunity to participate in sport and physical activity in a friendly and supportive environment.

Mark Swain and physios from WMRC.

The three days of sport and socialising included the chance to sample more than ten different sports including archery, climbing, football, golf, sitting volleyball, tennis and wheelchair basketball, with coaches and mentors on hand to support participants.

Chief Executive of LimbPower, Kiera Roche said: “Multi-sport events are part of LimbPower’s plan to reach more amputees and people with limb difference across the country, giving them an opportunity to try new activities in a safe and friendly environment amongst peers.”

Family support helps railwayman Mark back on sporting track

For Mark Swain, getting back into sport has turned into a family affair.

Mark (pictured, above with physiotherapists at West Midlands Rehabilitation Centre) had his right leg amputated in May – five years after sustaining a wound in his foot which led to osteomyelitis – a bacterial infection of the bone.

The railway crew manager had been forced to give up playing competitive crown green bowls two years ago due to his health problems and a need for near-constant antibiotics.

Now, after recapturing his sporting spirit at the adult LimbPower event in Birmingham, cheered on by his children and grandchildren, he has joined a gym, swims regularly and is planning to join an archery club with his family!

“It sounds perverse, but having my leg amputated gave me a new lease of life after five years of an infection going round my body, “ says the 50-year-old dad-of-three and grandfather of two one-year-old girls.

“It was a ‘no-brainer’ with a much better chance of success compared to the other options.

“LimbPower was brilliant. I had a go at most of the activities. Wheelchair basketball was brilliant and I also did pretty well at the rock-climbing.

“All the family had a go at archery and we’ve already found a club near us so we can do it together as a family.

“It’s all about keeping a positive outlook – life doesn’t have to change just because you lose a limb; I’m probably more active now with one leg than I was with two!”

Dean Glover

Coach Dean ready for basketball court return

When amputee Dean Glover had to give up his career coaching children’s basketball, he found it hard to adapt to life without sport.

Dean had his right leg amputated in February after developing osteosarcoma – cancer of the bone. An operation to replace the thigh bone with an endoprosthesis proved unsuccessful due to infection and so Dean accepted that the best course of action would be to amputate.

“I used to be heavily into sport and built up a career teaching basketball around local primary schools,” says the 52-year-old father-of-two, of Solihull.

“I adapted OK after my leg was amputated but, having been very active, felt life was reduced. So, when I picked up a LimbPower leaflet at the rehab centre, I decided to give it a go.

“The whole point of LimbPower is to get people with amputations back into sport or activity and so I went along, gave it a go, and absolutely loved it – especially the wheelchair basketball.

“I need to sort out some issues with transport but I’m hoping to join a club and take it up regularly.”

And Dean’s sporting legacy lives on – having set up the Solihull primary schools basketball league in 2003, he later helped a pupil from those early days get started in coaching. That person, now a qualified coach, has taken over Dean’s business, with his blessing.

“I’m delighted,” he said. “I’ve been back to present the trophy to the winning team as well – so that lives on.

“If I’m honest, after the problems I had, the amputation gave me a sense of freedom. Now, thanks to LimbPower,  I’m even more inspired to get back into sport, which has always been a big part of my life.”