Jumping on a family trampoline seemed like innocent fun for Josh Piperato back in March of 2014 – until his leg got caught. Initially diagnosed by ER docs at a local hospital as a sprained ankle, the pain rapidly became disproportionately severe and he developed a fever that reached 108 degrees. Back to the hospital, the next diagnosis was compartment syndrome – a painful condition that occurs when pressure within the muscles, such as from bleeding within the muscle, builds to dangerous levels. This pressure can decrease blood flow, which prevents nourishment and oxygen from reaching nerve and muscle cells. If not treated within 6 hours, permanent muscle and/or nerve damage can occur.
During the month of April across the United States, amputee support groups, veterans, prosthetists, rehabilitation centers and those with limb loss will be participating in a number of activities in their local areas to raise awareness.
“Limb loss is not uncommon and is becoming less uncommon every day,” says Susan Stout, Amputee Coalition president & CEO “Many people are unaware of the causes of amputation and often see limb loss in just a few categories: the wounded warrior or the accomplished athlete. The fact is, limb loss affects every generation, from young to old and people from all walks of life. More than 2 million Americans live with limb loss and that number grows by 185,000 each year. “
Many people with limb loss have become mentors and advocates to others, raising public awareness and educating on adaptability, prevention and making yourself heard. This month we’d like to highlight just a few of these people.
The PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games are taking place between March 9 and March 18th this year, featuring up to 670 athletes, a 24 per cent increase on the 539 athletes that competed at Sochi 2014 with a 44 per cent increase in the number of female athletes. Athletes compete in 80 medal events across six sports: cross-country skiing, biathlon, ice hockey, snowboard and wheelchair curling.
The 41st Annual Empire State Building Run-Up is the first and most famous tower race in the world, challenging runners to race up its famous 86 flights – 1,576 steps, a vertical distance of 1,050 feet. The 2018 ESBRU took place on Wednesday evening, February 7th, sponsored by Turkish Airlines and joined by the Challenged Athletes Foundation. CAF is the world leader in helping people with physical challenges lead active and healthy lifestyles and encouraging independence.
More than 200 people from around the world raced up the 86 stories to the famed observation deck. The CAF runners fundraise to help raise awareness and much-needed donations so people with permanent physical challenges gain access to adaptive sports equipment, athletic training, an active lifestyle, community and mentorship. Each CAF runner raises a minimum of $2500 for the charity.
Rich Romaine was a professional carpenter, having a passion for shaping and fitting wood for functional and practical purposes. After graduating from Cedar Grove High School, he continued his education at the County College, taking classes in building and carpenter architecture. In 1991 he and his brother started their own carpentry business.
Then in September 2009, Rich fell off a roof, shattering and breaking his back. He spent the next 3 months in a body cast. Defying the odds of his back healing, he was recovering well, except for his left foot which was also shattered. After 12 surgeries, he was still unable to walk on that foot. Not wanting to live on pain pills, Rich decided to have a 13th surgery, this time to amputate. In September 2012, three years after the accident, he became an RBKA – right leg below the knee amputee.