Hundreds of children to get ‘activity’ prosthetics

The Government has announced that the fund, which has already supported more than two hundred disabled youngsters, will mean more children being able to use sporting prosthetics in the future.

Care minister Caroline Dinenage told Sky News: “Some of the money goes to provide the limbs, but some of it goes to research and development so we can find newer, easier ways of doing it with less cost, but actually make it easier for those in the future.

Ollie Bauert (L) and Maisie Catt (R) have activity prosthetics
Image:Ollie Bauert (L) and Maisie Catt (R) have activity prosthetics

“Sport and activity are so important to any child’s health, well-being and confidence, and today’s announcement should help many more disabled children to fulfil their sporting ambitions.”

At the Prosthetic Rehabilitation Centre at London’s Stanmore Hospital, two youngsters who have benefited from the program told Sky News how it felt to be fitted with activity blades for the first time.

Richard Whitehead MBE said he wants to provide inspiration
Image:Richard Whitehead MBE said he wants to provide inspiration

Ollie Bauert, 10, who is without the lower portion of his right leg, said: “It made a big difference because I could finally have fun with all my friends and not have to worry about staying behind.”

Masie Catt, who is eight and requires prosthetics for both legs, said: “When I got it on I was happy because I felt a big difference. It’s springy and I could just run fast.”

Ollie practices his basketball with his prosthetics
Image:Ollie practices his basketball with his prosthetics

A £1.5m investment to the fund was previously announced in September 2016, with £750,000 funded through the National Institute for Health Research to create a Child Prosthetics Research Collaboration.

The aim is to bring together leading national research centres with capabilities in child prosthetics with key experts from the NHS, industry, and clinical academia.

Richard Whitehead in action in the IPC World ParaAthletics Championships
Image:Richard Whitehead in action in the IPC World ParaAthletics Championships

Also at the launch was Paralympic gold medallist Richard Whitehead MBE who told Sky News: “As an elite athlete I have the technology to perform at the highest level, but what I’m doing today is providing the young people with a little bit of inspiration and hope, and obviously showing my medal around what is possible.

“And I’m getting some inspiration from these youngsters as well.”

There are an estimated 2,000 children in the UK who are without limbs, for a variety of reasons. So far, 220 of them have applied for help through this scheme and all have been accepted.

It is hoped that many more will now come forward for an activity prosthetic that could help transform their lives.

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