Prosthetic limbs have come a long way in recent years, allowing more and more injured athletes to keep running.
Kevin Kimbell, a 35-year-old father of two and a 16-minute 5K runner, works as a prosthetist for Orthotic & Prosthetic Technologies in Round Rock, Texas.
What’s a prosthetist? According to Kimbell, he is “someone who helps design and fit prostheses for people who have lost limbs, whether due to disease, traumatic accidents, or wounds incurred during military service.”
Kimbell was track and cross-country runner for the University Of Texas and has been applying the lessons he’s learned as a runner to assist runners in need of prosthetic limbs.
“The field combines everything I like — working with my hands, working with athletes and setting up people with cycling and running legs. Being a runner helps me analyze the biomechanics of people who have lost one or both legs and want to be able to run or bike,” he says.
Kimbell recently assisted 69-year-old Gay Henry who lost her left leg below the knee due to an accident. Henry had been a runner for 30 years and still wanted to do it.
“When the spring leg was ready, I tried it and was able to run up and down the sidewalk. When I got home, I ran four miles the first day. Now I run five miles a day. When I run, I can hardly tell it’s there. It never hurts. It’s been the greatest blessing to be able to run again. Kevin is good at what he does,” she says.
For More: The Statesman