Today I wanted to write about and show my appreciation for the 2018 Ossur Mobility Clinic in Adelaide. This was a date I’ve been looking forward to for a couple of months, and it didn’t disappoint at all.
The timing of the clinic couldn't have been better as, with the help of Cameron Ward at APC, I just received my first Ossur Flex-Run running blade to accompany me over there to learn some techniques and tips from some of the best on how to use it. It's fair to say I was very excited, I’ve been dying to get this leg for over 12 months and to finally just have it in my possession let alone be able to run on it, Christmas has come early for me.
Flying to the clinic and still dealing with a bad bout of gastro it was fair to say my enthusiasm wasn’t really there, and the thought of running around all day made me feel nauseous and light headed. For an hour or two I let it get the better of me, mentally playing the victim card about how ‘unlucky’ I was to get sick during what was such an important two days to me.
However, by the time I got to the Clinic there was no time to worry about that, it was go time. As this was my second Clinic, attending in Melbourne last year, it was really nice to see lots of familiar faces and familiar coloured shirts of the Ossur team, clinicians and athletes.
Spending lots of time with Brett Jones, a running coach, throughout the two days was my main goal, as i can obviously run and have done a bit of it, but it has all been self-taught. I believe if I want to be like the best, I have to behave like the best, and that means seeking out the best support in all areas of my life.
Whether it be from Ossur & APC physio Cathy Howells, whose enthusiasm and knowledge is fantastic, Brett’s coaching cues, techniques and understanding, or Don Elgin's approach to life – all of their input is vital in how to work on building a strong mental approach to sport and life.
As I wasn’t able to run around like a headless chook like I would’ve preferred because I was feeling unwell, I was forced to go slow and steady, spending lots of time on drill after drill, step after step, and feeling my body as I move and trying to adjust accordingly. It may not have been what my expectation was coming to the clinic, but it was exactly what i needed.
Throughout both days I had moments where I could really appreciate the Clinic on every level. Only 12 months ago I was at the Clinic learning the basics on how to fix my gait, and being told I should think about taking up running. Returning made me look back on what 12 months of hard work can do.
Some of the best time was watching the little kids run around. All like little pocket rockets, full of energy, happy as anything, not a care in the world, connecting with each other. I remember being that age and how there was no thought that I was ‘different’ or ‘disadvantaged’ in anyway. I don’t know when it was that that changed for me and I did believe I was ‘different’ and not ‘a part of’. That is something I wouldn’t wish for anyone, amputee or otherwise, as no one deserves to be treated differently regardless of their situation.
As the Clinic started drawing to a close I actually became a bit sad.
It had ticked all the boxes, I'd learnt more about how to use Cash (yes I named my blade Cash) learnt areas about my running that needs improvement, and most of all connected with the Ossur family. In the past 12 months this world has been completely opened wide for me. I took the long way round to get here but the people I’ve met in the prosthetic community I have such sincere admiration and respect for all of them. There’s a special thing that goes on in a community where there is mutual understanding and respect from everyone involved, a real deep understanding that I don’t think I quite know how to put into words right now.
I’ve attended a number of different clinic, events in this community, and nothing quite compares to the talks, support staff, dances, drills, laughs, games that is run by Ossur. I’m already looking forward to next year.