Athletes are making up in confidence and determination for what they lack in limbs

Athletes with an amputation know that behind them is the dedication, passion and expertise of a great prosthetist.

Unique to Paralympic sport, every amputee has a prosthetist, whose role is as vital as the coach. Responsible for the function and comfort of the prosthetics, a prosthetist’s role is a vital, caring and often challenging one.

There needs to be a strong and trusting relationship between athlete and prosthetist, and a collaboration needs to be formed.

German Sprinter Heinrich Popow tool home a gold medal on day nine of the competition in the Men’s 100m-T42.  Jens Northemann, his prosthetist from Ottobock Healthcare discusses the relationship between technician and athlete.

“I am constantly required to adjust the fit of Heinrich’s leg depending on his running technique, fitness and changes to his residual limb as a result of diet and training. We spend hours looking at video footage to ensure that the leg enables him to perform to his best ability and is comfortable. We have been working together for five years and to se him cross the finish line first filled me with such pride and passion, it really is a dream comes true. “

Australian Cameron Wars id the prosthetist for silver medallist, Scott Reardon “you develop a strong, emotional relationship with your athlete as you see them continue to push boundaries.”

The role of a prosthetist is a behind the scenes one. They play an invisible martyr and are never thanked on the podium, but like a rider with a horse or a racing driver without a car, an amputee isn’t complete without prosthetics.

“It’s our job to make sure the socket fits perfectly, the knee is aligned and athlete can compete to their best – it’s an honour.” Continues Cameron Ward.

Ottobock technical service team for the London 2012 Paralympic Games includes 50 prosthetist’s. Tino Hartmann, Prosthetist at Ottobock Healthcare and Cameron Ward are part of the Prosthetic, Orthotic and Wheelchair Technical Service Team. Tino is also responsible for prosthetic education and training around the world as part of Ottobock’s commitment to increasing the standard of prosthetic care.

“Our technicians are the heart of our operation and the passion, knowledge and care they bring to the role is unique,” said Professor Hans George Naeder, CEO Ottobock Healthcare. “We are proud of the great work they do, not only on the international stage here at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, but also in their day-to-day lives supporting amputees around the world. Ottobock has been providing this service to Paralympic athletes since 1988 and we look forward to continuing our role supporting athlete’s success on and off the field of play for many years to come.”

About Ottobock:

Ottobock is a world-leading supplier of high quality, innovative and practical solutions that restore human mobility and help people to rediscover personal independence. With a highly motivated and skilled team of professionals offering expert advice, product sales, service and support, Ottobock solutions enhance the physical comfort, confidence and mobility of the individual.

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