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Amputee inspires others through work

A Pennsylvania man whose left leg was amputated at the knee has begun working for the company that created his prosthesis with the hopes of inspiring other amputees, many of whom may be receiving SSDI for injuries sustained at work and in other settings.

The man is now employed by Hangar Clinic, a national orthopedics and prosthesis company. The firm has a branch in North Scranton, near the man's home. Since losing his limb, the man has refused to allow his disability to slow him down. He has competed in the wheelchair division of marathons, skydived and served as an advocate for the Amputee Coalition, among other major achievements.

The man had been injured while attempting to save a driver from a car accident that happened near his home. As he attempted to free the driver, who was pinned beneath one of the truck's wheels, the man himself became pinned, fracturing his left ankle in several spots. He sustained serious injuries that required 13 different surgeries, which resulted in two separate amputations.

For a while, the man managed to get around on crutches, but when he learned about Hangar Clinic, he immediately got himself fitted for a state-of-the-art lower-limb prosthesis. The device is equipped with a microprocessor that helps him navigate stairs and uneven terrain, and it even addresses problem the man had developed with his back and hips because of the injury.

When the man began to face financial difficulty in supporting his large family using only his SSDI benefits, the clinic approached him and offered him a position. The man currently manages a variety of activities, including marketing, sales, event coordination and community outreach. His job allows him to interact with amputees who need encouragement and support, and the man says he finds his current position extremely rewarding.

The man says he still has physical goals that he would like to accomplish, including about 20 lbs. of weight loss. He would also like to be able to walk so that people are unable to tell that he has a prosthetic leg.

Source: The Times-Tribune, "New step in the right direction: Green Ridge man empathizes with amputees," Josh Mcauliffe, April 10, 2012

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