On Saturday July 20, 2019, three associates from Bremer Prosthetics will be participating in the Sanford & Sun Triathlon. Nate, Scott and Casey are all very excited and have been working hard to train for this event! In the 2018 race, Nate and Scott participated, this year they added another partner in Casey. It’s their hope that each year, they can add another teammate that is an amputee.
For most athletes, participating in a triathlon is nothing out of the ordinary. However, for Scott and Casey it is much different. Both Scott and Casey are below the knee amputees, and are participating to bring awareness and hope for other amputees in proving you can achieve your dreams and goals no matter your circumstance. As an added component, Scott will be wearing 2 different prosthetic limbs throughout this year’s race! He will have one limb for running and a separate prosthetic limb for biking and swimming. Each limb is designed differently for both Scott and Casey. Casey’s prosthesis is made of the material from his Marine uniform. Scott’s prosthetic limbs are unique that one has Batman’s symbol on it and the other is what he calls the “big fin,” due to the design.
Scott is an advocate for amputees. He and Nate are the owners of 3 local prosthetic limb practices. Bremer Prosthetics of Saginaw and Flint and their new location in Lansing named Baranek & Kapa Prosthetics. These clinics are family oriented and the staff go out of their way to ensure their patients are treated with respect and the best care. Nate and Scott are always redesigning prosthetic limbs to better serve their clientele. Nate said, “Because I’m participating, I see the challenges the triathlons create, which helps me to make modifications to the prosthesis to overcome the challenges amputees face.” These factors are huge in the advancements for prosthetics and the profession.
When someone losses a limb, it’s life changing! No matter the circumstances, that person is not the same. Many people have mental and physical challenges they face. For Scott, he strives to be an advocate for amputees and a person people can look up to. One piece of advice he gave was, “There’s always a reason to NOT do something, it’s what you DO that defines you.” No matter the struggles, it’s about how you approach life and the choices you make that will better serve you.
- People with limb loss make up less that one half of 1% of the U.S. population.
- There is a 2 year learning curve for lower limb amputees to adapt to their prosthesis.
- They live with pain every day.
- They use 30-40% more energy to walk the same distance than a person with two natural legs.
- They have less workplace rights.
- They have to have a spare leg or most employers will not hire them
Being highly involved with prosthetics in Saginaw, Flint and Lansing, these 3 men are excited to represent themselves, their families, their businesses and others just like them. When asked what motivated them to compete, each had their own unique answer.
Scott says, “I started training for triathlons to create awareness and inspire other amputees, showing them that running is more impactful and the hardest, but it’s important to have a healthier and active lifestyle.”
Nate says, “The motivation to get involved was purely from Scott his enthusiasm and passion. How had he trained and how much he put into it, inspired me to be involved.”
Casey says, “Scott doing a triathlon, it inspired me to try, so I started training throughout the winter. Scott and I trained together for swimming and we share tips for running and biking to help each other to succeed.”
Living active lifestyles are huge for all three men. Casey is a former Marine and quoted saying, “I’m active by nature and my hobbies are outdoors. Getting injured six months post exiting the military, I became less active, years have gone by and I wanted to regain my active lifestyle.” This thought process helped Casey to dedicate his time to training for this triathlon and to be more active in his every day life. Watching a fellow colleague workout and push himself to be healthy gave Casey the momentum he needed to try something new and compete at a different level.
Nate and Scott work together and they workout together, with friendly competition and fun. Nate said, “Scott and I go into everything at full tilt and it’s a motivator for me. I don’t see him as an amputee pushing me along, I see him being 10 years older pushing me along!” For Nate, he sees a person, not a disability. He went on to say, “We talk about training and healthy living daily and we find we have similar struggles with our routines.” Knowing they both struggle with the same things, pushes each man to be better, but also enlightens them to know they are both humans wanting the best for each other.
Being active and learning to do normal everyday things is tough for amputees. Scott has worked hard to be in the healthy shape his body is in. He said it wasn’t easy to run, “It took 25 years to get to enjoy running and feeling the healthy benefits, running is the most dynamic form of human locomotion.” Everyone can run, but to run as an amputee it’s harder on the body. It’s takes more energy and it’s harder on the leg(s) that the prosthetic is attached to, causing sores and pain to the body parts. Scott even said, “This leg doesn’t run itself!” An everyday person doesn’t have to think extra hard to run, they just do it. Amputees have to retrain their brains and bodies to perform these tasks.
The event is located at Sanford Lake County Park and starts at 7:30 am. The park is a short 15 minute drive from downtown Midland and a great place to host this event going on year number 14. This event is a favorite for the local community and area triathletes. The course is straight, flat and fast and said to be a great starting point for any athlete that is seasoned or entry level. If you are looking for something to do this Saturday morning, or you might know someone competing, stop by and see these great athletes push themselves to the limit!
For those competing in the Triathlon this Saturday, we wish you all the best of luck! It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to participate. We wish Nate, Scott and Casey the best of luck and a great time! Hopefully we will see some friendly competition and photos from the event to share with our patients, families and the community.