Standing on two good legs
High-tech limbs approximate bone, muscle
September 4, 1996
Web posted at: 7:50 a.m. EDT
From Correspondent David George
ATLANTA (CNN) -- Hugo Storer has two good legs -- the left
one is powerful, the right one merely strong.
As a teen-ager, Storer was on of the best young athletes in
his native Puerto Rico. He was on the national junior
volleyball team and was set to attend college on an athletic
scholarship, until he lost his leg in an accident at age 19.
"It was my last year on the national junior team," Storer
But it wasn't his last year as a athlete. Hugo Storer simply
switched sports -- to shot-putting, which, like volleyball,
is best done on two feet. (5 sec./472K QuickTime movie)
"The power comes from the legs," he says, "70 percent, I
And for a right-handed shot-putter like Storer, most of that
power comes from the right leg -- the leg he doesn't have.
He competed in two Paralympic Games on one leg, but in
Atlanta he used a short prosthesis made especially for shot-putting.
Such high-tech limbs cost from $12,000 to $20,000. Not
everyone can afford them, and not every insurance company will foot the
"At times, I feel the patient is compromised because of
insurance coverage," says certified prosthetist Catherine
But Storer has his state-of-the-art limb, and his career
as a school teacher, and his sporting avocation. Plus, he's
just gotten married.
His wife, Loretta, says she likes her new husband's attitude.
"He enjoys every day to the fullest that he can," she says.
Barring monetary concerns, technology has given every amputee
a shot at enjoying every day to the fullest.
"They're able to do things they weren't able to do before,"
says Laura Mengwasser of the Easter Seal Society.
Older prostheses, she says, often weren't conducive to
everyday use. The new ones are, she says, "and it's their
leg. There's not much difference."
But for Hugo Storer and others like him, it's all the
difference in the world.
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