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Mechanical leg helps amputees to run and walk again

By Mike Anderson | Posted - Nov. 8, 2012 at 8:10 p.m.

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LOGAN — A Logan woman is learning to run for the very first time. Earlier this year, friends and family started fundraising to get her a new high-tech leg. Now, she says it's changing her life by helping her do things she's never done before.

Kristie Christensen is a student at USU and her roommates have a knack for throwing parties for a good cause. On Thursday, she teamed up with a fellow amputee for a special lesson.

Before she can sprint, Christensen has to learn how to run in slow motion. For the past two months, she has been getting used to her new leg, and she's learning from someone who has been in her shoes.

"Once you you get used to it, it's a lot easier," said Freedom Innovations consultant, Tyler Hyatt. "When I was four, I was run over by a garbage truck in Price, so I've pretty much been an amputee since then."

Tyler Hyatt works for the company that sells the Plie and he also runs an amputee basketball team.

"We have to build a run and then we have to be able to go backwards," Hyatt said.

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Many people may take running for granted. Some people do it for fun or exercise, and others just try and avoid it. But, it is more difficult when you've never done it before.

Christensen was born with a birth defect, and lost her right leg before she could walk. The 20 thousand dollar Plie has a processor that makes everything more smooth.

"It's new, it's exciting," Christensen said. "It's really cool. Mostly, it's been learning that the leg, trusting the leg to know that it's made to be like as a normal leg as it can be."

She says the change is dramatic and is leaving her future wide open with possibilities. Even if most of those improvements are things many of us enjoy every day.

"Being able to walk up and down stairs is something that as an amputee, you always fear about falling," Hyatt said. "And to be able to do that and show them how to do that with confidence, it changes their life."


Mike Anderson

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