Diego RuizProfessor GraecynEnglish 1A3 December 2019Staying a Step AheadOn March17th, 2019, during the 38th Annual Wineglass Marathon, a new record had been set. Brian Reynolds, a 29 year old double amputee, had set a new record in the half marathon. Reynolds is a double amputee, meaning that he is someone who has had all or part of an arm or leg amputated (collinsdictionary.com). In Reynolds case, he had both of his legs belowthe knee amputated at the age of 4 when he had contracted meningococcemia, a rare blood infection that is caused by the same bacteria that causes meningitis (Schulman). Reynolds now has two pairs of prosthetics, which were created using titanium and carbon fiber, one pair of walking legs and one pair of running legs. Thanks to these prosthetics, he was able to not only compete in the New York Marathon, but was also able to stand out and showcase is prowess to the world (Webster). Reynolds is one of the many examples of how having leg amputations isn’t a detriment to one’s life.My general reaction to the idea of getting leg amputation was that it was rather disheartening. The inability to do something so innate like walking or jumping or something as simple as just moving across the room seemed like such a drastic and negative change to day to day life that I couldn’t help but feel pity for those that have had leg amputations, almost to the point of considering them helpless. However, after beginning to research the topic, my perception had begun to change. This is especially true after watching Aimee Mullins and her TED talk about her experience with leg amputations and prosthetics. Mullins was born without
fibular bones and needed to have both of her legs amputated below the knee when she was only an infant. Because of that, she needed to learn how to walk and run on prosthetic legs. Since then, she has been “competing at the national and international level as a champion sprinter, and setting world records at the 1996 Paralympics in Atlanta. At Georgetown, where she double-majored in history and diplomacy, she became the first double amputee to compete in NCAA Division 1 track and field” (Mullins). Mullins has also done modeling, which include being on the runway show for Alexander McQueen, as well as acting as Leopard Queen in Matthew Barney’s Cremaster Cycle. Mullins is also passionate about prosthetics, specifically in the development of leg prosthetics. In her TED talk, she mentions how having prosthetics is like having 12 pairs of legs, each one having a specific design in mind, whether it be for aesthetic or practicality. Not once has she let her amputations become a detriment or a negative trait about her. Mullins still leads a fulfilling life where she follows her passions. If anything, being a doubleamputee helps shape her identity and drives her to strive for more. She has definitely had a positive influence on the outlook of people with leg amputations (Mullins).