As your resident bionic lady, I love filling our readers in on the newest stuff in prosthetic technology. Last week I told you about my prosthetist Joe, and the amazing new design he’s patented that just may change the way all prosthetics are made. This week I have a new story for you.
Again, we start with a single guy who saw a need in basic prosthetic design and filled it. Mike Schultz was an extreme athlete, as in a top amateur motocross and professional snocross racer who did very well for himself at the X Games and other national events. At the end of 2008 his career came to a screeching halt when a snocross accident resulted in the loss of his leg, above the knee. His recovery was not fun or easy, but as soon as he was able to, Mike wanted to be back on that equipment that allowed him to race fast and jump high. He wanted nothing more than to get back into the game. With the blessing of his supportive wife, he climbed back on.
It didn’t take long for him to realize his new metal knee, which worked fine for walking around in everyday life, was not cooperating once he mounted his bike. It wasn’t durable or agile enough to keep up. Something about the process would have to be modified. Being familiar with workshop tools, Mike went to work. He modified the pedals of his bike but also dug in and made himself a more rugged prosthetic knee that could withstand the beating he put it through.
Once he perfected and patented his new knee, that had the strength, durability and agility he needed, he realized it would work in other sports too. The video below shows how his design can make motorcycle racing more efficient, but also horseback riding, mountain biking, water skiing, alpine skiing and snowmobiling.
Here’s the breakdown – to see each of these sports, go to these time markers: 1:30 an up close of the knee at work, and some amazing motocross footage, 2:30 how it adapts to mountain biking, 3:05 shows how it works in horseback riding, 3:50 is a look at water skiing, 4:30 shows how the knee responds to alpine skiing and 5:12 brings you back to one of Mike’s favorite sports, snowmobiling.
Mike’s company, called Biodapt, makes these amazing limbs for other amputee athletes. Mike continues to race in the Adaptive X Games and gets in as much outdoor time as possible. He’s a guy who’s not about to slow down, even when life throws a road block in his path. When Mike saw the bump in the road he just figured out a way to get over that bump more efficiently. And now he’s spending his time making active sports more accessible to other amputees.