When many people think of mobility, the basic ability to get around the house may come to mind. But for Össur and the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF), mobility is a progression and ultimately personal definition. Whether the goal is to play tag at the park or cross the finish line of a triathlon, our 20-year partnership empowers individuals with limb loss and limb difference to choose and achieve their own vision of mobility.
Össur is a global leader in non-invasive orthopaedics that allow people to pursue a Life Without Limitations. They focus on improving people’s mobility through innovative technologies within the fields of Prosthetics and Bracing & Supports while ensuring opportunities aren’t diminished due to injury or disability. As our Global Partner, Össur has impacted thousands of CAF athletes by helping to provide life-changing grants and co-hosting the Össur and CAF Mobility Clinic.
“The common outcome we see with the athletes is they take away the sense of comradery, self-esteem, and the ability to succeed in whatever it is they want to do,” says gait-training expert and Össur coach Bob Gailey, PhD, PT. “CAF and Össur have been there to help people get back to the level of mobility they’re looking for.”
For 71-year-old Bob O’Dell, mobility is the freedom to compete on a softball team with his Arizona retirement community. Bob is a lifelong athlete who grew up competing in basketball, track, and softball. Working as a switchman back in 2000, his right foot got caught between two train cars and his leg was amputated below the knee as a result. While golf had been an outlet for Bob’s competitive spirit over the years, he missed participating in his favorite running sports.
After learning from his prosthetist that he could apply for a CAF grant, Bob started to reimagine his own definition of mobility in senior softball. This past year he received his first CAF grant for an Össur Flex-Run with Nike Sole. Two decades after his injury, Bob is now able to run again and achieve his own Life Without Limitations. “I plan to keep doing beneficial fitness activities as long as my body will allow, hopefully into my nineties.”
For 17-year-old Samara Mejia, mobility is the freedom to join her school track team and someday complete a full marathon. For most of her life, Samara had severe ankle pain and wasn’t able to participate in sports, P.E., or even be active with friends. For her only chance at a pain-free life, her left leg was amputated below the knee in 2018.
Attending the Össur and CAF Mobility Clinic the following year at Oracle Park – home of the San Francisco Giants – was a truly life-shaping experience for Samara. She met other kids with amputations just like hers, gained skills and confidence to be active, ran alongside pro golfer Michelle Wie, met San Francisco sports legends Shawn Estes, Ronnie Lott, and Rob Dean, and received a surprise grant for her very first running prosthesis – an Össur Flex-Run with Nike Sole.
Samara realized her potential that day and she has since completed two 5k races and trained to join her high school track team through the CAF High School Adaptive Sports Program. With a clear vision of her own mobility, Samara’s ultimate goal is to become a prosthetist. “Who better to make a prosthesis than one who wears one?”
Together Össur and CAF have a worldwide impact to support individuals of all ages and stages of life. Since the inception of our partnership, Össur has provided more than 1,000 running feet and knees to CAF grant recipients and supported more than 2,650 people at our Mobility Clinics. Last year alone, 134 sports prostheses were awarded and nearly 400 people with limb loss and limb difference participated in our joint clinic. Every grant and every clinic are opportunities to define one’s potential in mobility, with CAF and Össur providing the tools, training, and confidence to succeed.