Amputee Corner - Man van Staal
53 year-old Paul Nel has been a keen sportsman all his life but enjoys cycling the most, competing in races like the Argus, the Herald and the Double Century. In 2008 and 2009 he completed the Iron Man.
But in September 2009 Paul was involved in an accident on his motorbike (caused by a cell phone!!). He had multiple injuries: a broken shoulder and hand, damaged elbow, dislocated right thumb and his leg had to be amputated below the knee.
He was two weeks at the trauma hospital and seven weeks in rehab. He slipped twice in hospital, damaging his residual limb and ended up in a wheelchair for eight months.
At the end of July 2010 Paul was fitted with a prosthesis. It could not stand up to his lifestyle and broke four times in two months. He discussed the problem with his prosthetist who recommended an Endolite Elite blade, a lightweight pylon foot that combines great deflection for running response with a free and easy walking action. Independent springs provide efficient energy return and the flexible extended pylon minimises shock load transmission to the skin interface and proximal joints. The Elite blade is a crossover foot that offers comfort and a lively loading response for work, leisure and sports activities. It is a level 3-4foot recommended for a high impact lifestyle. Sizes range from 24 to 30cm -¨and it is supplied with a shifting, rotating male pyramid.
Unfortunately the cost of importing the product was prohibitive so Paul and his wife decided to go straight to the manufacturer, Blatchford & Sons, England, where orthotist, John Ross, soon had him up and running. For around R110,000 Paul and his wife flew to the UK,stayed for two weeks and came home with not one, but two legs (the other is an Endolite Javelin foot).
Paul had his life back. Within days of returning to South Africa he started training for the Iron Man and completeda 10km cycle.
Four months of gruelling training and determination later he took on the SA Triathlon Championship. Then, with just three weeks until the Iron Man, he started intensive training, exercisingf or up to four hours a day, with his wife pushing him to succeed and neverdoubting his ability.
Finally, the big day arrived and the athletes set off at 07h00. 16 hours and 14 minutes later Paul completed the Iron Man, with 45 minutes to spare before the midnight cut off!!