Amputee Blade Runners (ABR)
Amputee Blade Runners (ABR) is dedicated to helping lower-limb different athletes of all ages reimagine what is possible in sports and in life. Headquartered in Nashville, TN, ABR provides free custom running and sports prosthetics to lower-limb amputees seeking to regain an active lifestyle. Active amputees are a small minority of the overall amputee community and many prosthetists struggle to provide the necessary care. Running blades are typically deemed “medically unnecessary,” forcing amputees to settle just to walk. ABR was founded in 2011 by prosthetists Aaron Fitzsimmons, Ryan Fann, and fabrication technician Nick Gambill. These men and now dozens of others volunteer their time, equipment, and skill to give amputees the joy of running. This equipment would typically cost an amputee $10,000-15,000. Through the volunteerism of practitioners and fabricators and favorable pricing from vendors, ABR is able to provide equipment to new athletes for $3,500 and new and existing athletes combined for $2,150.
Quality prosthetic care is vital to the health of an amputee. Access to appropriate care for active amputees is often a challenge. 80% of the 135,00 amputations performed in the US each year are for elderly individuals with vascular disease. Consequently, the entire industry focuses almost exclusively on this population. That often means that those who have amputations for other reasons, such as trauma, cancer, infection, and congenital conditions, who are otherwise healthy, are offered prostheses designed with another’s needs in mind. What is best for a 70 year old is not typically best for a 7 year old.
ABR was founded by two prosthetists with the idea that a single piece of equipment can be life changing. One of the founders, Ryan Fann, personally knew this to be true. At age 3 he was hit and dragged by a truck, leading to the amputation of his foot. Ryan was given a running blade in high school which led to competing on his college track team, multiple Paralympic medals, and a world record. Ryan later became a prosthetist and wanted to bless others in the same way. Current ABR athletes excel in a variety of sports, including track, football, baseball, golf, tennis, and gymnastics. ABR teaches the amputees and their families how to get the most out of their prosthesis and through that, the most out of life. A gift to ABR can truly make a difference for not only the amputee we directly serve, but the entire family and community as well. As the mother of one new ABR athlete said, “it’s like oxygen for those who can’t breathe.”
Amputee Blade Runners 410 42nd Ave N Suite 207, Nashville, TN 37209
Joshua Southards, Executive Director
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