Older Amputees Must Pass Down Their Knowledge to the Next Generation

PARK CITY, UTAH — Robert Gailey Jr., PhD, PT, assistant professor, department of physical therapy, University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine, was the presidential speaker at the 2011 Association of Children’s Prosthetics-Orthotics Clinics (ACPOC) Annual Meeting. His presentation focused on the older generation of amputees’ obligation to pass down their knowledge and experiences to the younger generation. The days of children with limb loss being told they can not participate in physical and sports activities have all but come to an end, according to Gailey.

“Mentorship and support is something that came from the Vietnam generation,” Gailey explained. “It is a changing world. It is not about the Paralympics. It is not about gold medals. It is about our kids going out and being able to do the things they see everybody else has done. We have to help them, but it takes a lot of support. It also takes other amputees to hang out with kids who are just like them.”

Gailey discussed the past events that made it possible for future generations to educate society and their peers from Terry Fox’s inspirational run across Canada that raised more than $24 million to Oscar Pistorious, to the devastating earthquake in Haiti.

“The mentorship and support can come from anywhere,” he said. “I just hope one generation continues to pass their knowledge to the next.”

He also highlighted the many programs that assist amputee children in becoming more involved with community and recreational sports.

“There are a lot of good programs,” Gailey said. “We have to get them out. We have to reach their parents as well. We know all the issues form transportation to having other siblings to schoolwork and all of those things. But if they can find the time, it will make a big difference. We find that the kids who succeed in athletics usually do just as well in every other aspect in life.” — by Anthony Calabro


The energy in the room is electrifying when Bob Gailey speaks. He not only grabs your attention to relay his passion for the well-being of amputees, young and old, but through his enthusiasm the audience responds with a mental commitment to do more within their own environment.
“Pass it on” is the theme for all of us, whether an amputee that can mentor others with encouragement or professionals who touch the lives of amputees enabling the potential they possess.

— Janet Marshall, CPO, LPO
Pediatric specialist, Shriner’s Hospital and member of O&P Business News Practitioner Advisory Council

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