Wheelchair Sports


Case Studies

Adrian's Story

In 2006 Adrian Howden was knocked down by a motorcyclist after completing the Three Peaks fell race in North Yorkshire. He was a long-distance runner who suffered a fractured ankle, which became infected and threatened to end the career in which he became the first winner of the Leeds Abbey Dash in 1984. He opted to have it amputated.

Adrian was made aware of high-technology blades that can be prescribed by the NHS for patients who have lost a limb but still have a high level of mobility and fitness. Adrian was determined to continue his career and joined only a handful of West Yorkshire patients prescribed the carbon fibre blade after proving his fitness to staff at Leeds Teaching Hospitals.

The 54 year old said: "I've been competing since 1976 so after 30 odd years I suppose I was ready for a change - what I didn't expect was for it to be so dramatic."

Having competed in disabled triathlons and duathlons (run-bike-run) since 2008, he finished fifth in this year's ITU Duathlon World Championships in Spain and now aims to compete in the 2016 Paralympics in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.

"The difference it has made is immeasurable. To get this blade through the NHS is fantastic and I feel privileged to have received this new lease of life."

Steve Carter, Prosthetic Service Manager at RSL Steeper, which works in partnership with Leeds Teaching Hospitals, at Seacroft, said: "Many practitioners simply don't realise that such highly specialised limbs are available on the NHS, but they can make huge improvements to the lives of active amputees. Adrian has taken to his blades really well and the whole team is delighted to see him competing at a high level once again.

"It's really inspiring to work with people like Adrian. They are living proof that athletic ability isn't constrained by losing a limb. We are really proud that patients from our centre are able to compete in top international events and it is a privilege to work with them."

The father-of-two, from Roundhay said: "The NHS try to return you to what you were before and I was an international distance runner. They've got me back to that, so from disaster I have a new thrill.

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