Few people, disabled or able-bodied, are as strong as above-knee amputee Mark Smith. As a four-time participant in the Britain’s Strongest Disabled Man contest, he pulled two multi-ton trucks 25 meters—simultaneously. But several years after he lost his leg (and nearly his life) in a military accident, Smith discovered he’d need more than muscle to carry the heavy emotional baggage of limb loss and recovery. After a close friend—one of the soldiers who saved Smith’s life—died by suicide, the strongman came to grips with his own vulnerabilities. He described his journey back to mental health last week on the Adventure More UK podcast. The biggest step? Overcoming the lifelong reflex to “man up” in the face of adversity, and learning to confront self-doubt and uncertainty with openness and candor.
More headlines from the past week:
This congenital amputee used to default to prosthesis-on sex, rarely doffing her device. Here’s how she finally got comfortable taking everything off in the bedroom.
We prefer our dogs big and dopey as opposed to small and cutesy. But we have to admit this lil’ feller born with no forelimbs is pretty irresistible. Word is that he’s great in the classroom.
No Limbits, an Iowa startup that’s manufacturing amp-friendly blue jeans, hit its $12,000 Kickstarter goal in just seven days. Way impressive. The campaign’s still open for another month; watch the video and pledge a few bucks to help this company enter the marketplace with a bang.
The Imperial College of London is seeking survey respondents for a major research project about socket sensation and proprioception. Your insights can help the institution’s Neuromechanics and Rehabilitation Technology Group develop prosthetic devices that interface directly with the nervous system. (Hat tip, Bionics for Everyone.)
Heading back to the podcast airwaves (podwaves?) for a moment: The Inappropriate Questions show wants to know if it’s okay to ask an amputee “What happened?” Get a range of opinions from a singer, journalist, comedian, and athlete.
This week’s maintenance tip for prosthetic leg wearers: If arrested for drug possession, do not use the device to smuggle fentanyl and Xanax into your jail cell.
Before she could achieve excellence as an adult, Paralympic cyclist Josie Fouts had to learn how to accept something she always rejected as a child: help. ““I was super stubborn,” she says. “I saw myself as quote-unquote normal. I have to undo these things that I mislearned as a kid.”
Would you wear a prosthetic leg manufactured by a robot? Amputees in Puerto Rico are doing just that—and one of them just took silver in the 100 meters against top international competition.
What is ableism? Asked at answered at Today.com.