Fall 2016 Amputee Walking School

Who are these guys?  Why, they are Paralympians Todd Schaffhauser and Dennis Oehler of course!  And if you are a lower limb amputee and haven’t met them yet - check this out so you can see what is going on.  Three or four times a year, Paralympians Todd Schaffhauser and Dennis Oehler pack their bags and leave Long Island, New York and head to Baltimore for a day of Amputee Walking School.  They just completed their November 2016 visit on Wednesday the 16th.   Organized by the University of Maryland Rehabilitation and Orthopaedic Institute (UMROI) at their Kernan Drive location, the event is co-hosted by the Amputee Support Group and Dankmeyer, Inc.  Amputee Walking School is designed to bring these self-styled “professional amputees” together with other amputees and their families, physical therapists, prosthetists and support staff - to teach and practice training exercises for lower limb amputees.  Todd and Dennis, both lower limb amputees, co-founded the Amputee Walking School (AWS) in 1989 to take amputees beyond traditional rehabilitation.

Todd and Dennis began Wednesday with a morning lecture and demonstration session, primarily attended by physical therapists and clinicians, to review the biomechanics of walking, running and other physical activities with a prosthetic device.  They discuss how to assess functional level and learn to look for indicators of successful prosthetic use. Stretching and strengthening exercises for amputees are reviewed along with some treatment approaches for their patients.  Todd and Dennis provide a number of practical demonstrations with the lecture and share their experiences as Paralympian Track and Field Medalists to educate and inspire these clinicians on sports and recreational opportunities for amputees.

In the evening, lower limb amputees and their families participate with a number of demonstrations and exercises, led by Todd and Dennis.  Attendees of the morning session also participate in order to work directly with amputees in the practical application of their morning studies.  As a special surprise, a local ABC News affiliate came to do a story on the event, and you can see that report by clicking here.

Todd and Dennis are very attentive and hands-on, guiding and encouraging professionals and amputees alike.  There is usually a lot of laughter and fun mixed in the with hard work - friends reconnect to encourage each other in their progress and learn new techniques.  The goal is for patients to come to multiple programs in order to gauge their progress after any continued therapy and practice of the exercises.

New attendees are always welcome.  The schedule for 2017 events is:

  • March 15, 2017
  • June 21, 2017
  • November 15, 2017

Save these dates when you are planning your 2017 calendar. You won’t want to miss these classes!  Now, check out this gallery of pictures from the November 2016 edition.