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Robert Haas: Never Backing Down

Robert Haas will never be the type of person to back down from a challenge. He's the kind of person that sees a challenge as an opportunity to excel instead of a possible roadblock. Robert is that guy for whom good is never good enough.


Robert's mentality and attitude toward life were tested, though, just before Independence Day in 2012. Having sustained an injury to his left leg while serving in the Navy, Robert's high blood pressure and a few other medical issues made his leg susceptible to blood clots. Instead of constantly suffering through blood clots, Robert had his left leg amputated below the knee at Cincinnati VA Medical Center.


Robert worked through his recovery at Chillicothe VA Medical Center, but he didn't receive his first prosthesis until January 2013. Even then, getting the perfect fit for his prosthesis was something Robert said he struggled to find.


"Until I located Optimus, that was my biggest challenge," Robert said. "They have repeatedly demonstrated their abilities and expertise to produce medically accurate and physically perfect, well-fitted prosthetic limbs. That is what you can expect from Optimus."


A perfect prosthesis didn't mean there wasn't hard work ahead, however. Mentally, Robert said he had to accept the loss of his limb and take ownership that he was ultimately responsible for his health and the new possibilities that lay ahead of him.


Physically, Robert said that even with a well-fit prosthesis he was still challenged when it came to learning how to use it effectively. His OSSUR Running Blade still challenges him and will take lots of time and practice to master. However, Robert stays very active, playing sledge hockey and boccia, going for long walks, swimming and running. How? He followed a few rules he offers as advice to other amputees: 

  • "First, accept the fact that you have sustained a limb loss."
  • "Then take ownership in your journey to wellness and your new possibilities."
  • "Never accept that which you know you can make better."
  • "Never accept an ill-fitting leg."
  • "Never accept the words 'your best days are behind you.'"
  • "Never become a prisoner of your wheelchair, bed or house."
  • "Strive to create the work of your infinite possibilities."
  • "Once you are on the road to wellness - mentor as an Amputee Peer Support to other amputees." 

Robert took that last piece of advice to heart, helping create the Amputee Recreation Support Group of Central Ohio (www.arsgoco.org).The group not only helps organize activities for amputees, but also helps new amputees adjust to their life by offering support in many different ways. The questions and uncertainty that surround an amputation can leave a person stuck, not knowing what to do or where to go. For Robert, his goal is to help as many people as possible out of this hole.


"Life is a precious gift," Robert said, "and should never be wasted or squandered."

Meagan Albury, CPO: A Career Path from a Test Score

What did you want to be growing up? A fireman? An astronaut? A veterinarian? Whatever your dream profession was, it probably wasn't being a prosthetist. This isn't to say that being a prosthetist isn't an enjoyable career, but it's not a job that is typically at the top of a young person's list.


Meagan Albury didn't think about being a prosthetist when she was younger until she got her ACT scores back in high school. On the back of her scores, prosthetist was listed as a career path based on her strengths. From there, the rest is history.


"A few weeks later while in my junior year of high school, I job shadowed at a [prosthetic] facility near my hometown," Meagan said. "After spending a morning working with the clinician I knew this is what I wanted to do."


Having served amputees in the Columbus area for the last seven years, Meagan joined the Optimus Prosthetics team at our Dayton location this February. The job has been a great fit so far, Meagan said, because of Optimus' commitment to quality patient care.


"I have always wanted to work for a small provider that truly cares about the people they serve," Meagan said.


That's what sets Optimus apart, she said. There is a sense that everyone truly works their hardest for the betterment of the patients, and to make the patients feel like they are a part of a family, Meagan said. This results in patients feeling like they are coming in for a "visit" rather than an "appointment."


Meagan said her job is made so much easier by the people she works with. From the beginning she has felt welcome, she said, and the team dynamic throughout all levels of Optimus makes it a great place to work.


"In my short time with Optimus I couldn't be happier," Meagan said. "I have an overwhelming sense of pride about where I work that I haven't felt in a while."

Jim's Corner
Prosthetic Weight Bearing


Optimus Prosthetics Jim Scharf
Jim Scharf, PTA

The goal of "Jim's Corner" is to provide helpful information and be a resource for those helping patients fitted with prosthetics learn to use them correctly in order to enjoy a better quality of life as an amputee.



For this month's issue I am continuing with the theme of establishing good prosthetic weight bearing. We have discussed the box taps and bolster rolls in previous issues. Another progression is prosthetic stance and placing the sound limb on a ball. To perform these exercises the patient stands evenly on both legs with a stable object for the required assistance and safety. Place a small ball under the sound foot.  Try to concentrate on keeping the hips even with each other, pelvis level and not leaning way over the prosthetic limb. Maintaining a backward force within the socket will help maintain stability.


Forward Ball Rolls

The patient stands and balances on the prosthesis and attempts to gently roll the ball forward and backward in a controlled manner with the sound limb.

Repeat 5-15 times.  Do 1-3 sets.


Side to Side Ball Rolls

The patient stands and balances on the prosthesis and attempts to gently roll the ball side to side in a controlled manner with the sound limb.

Repeat 5-15 times.  Do 1-3 sets.


Circular Ball Rolls

The patient stands and balances on the prosthesis and attempts to gently roll the ball clockwise, then counterclockwise in a controlled manner with the sound limb.

Repeat 5-15 times.  Do 1-3 sets.




When the patient can perform the above exercises safely, we can progress the patient by:

  • Adding more complex patterns such as figure 8's or the alphabet
  • Increasing the speed of movement (but not at the expense of technique!)
  • Increasing the size of the ball  



The above exercises might be too aggressive for some patients, so next month we will look at a set of exercises using the same principles but with different equipment.


Jim Scharf, PTA, Prosthetic Assistant/Gait Specialist

Jim has been a Licensed Physical Therapist Assistant since 1988.  Jim has worked with lower extremity amputee patients throughout his career.  He serves as a Gait Specialist and Liaison when prosthetic patients are meeting with their therapists. Feel free to contact Jim if he can assist you in any way at:jscharf@optimusprosthetics.com.

In This Issue

D = Dayton Area

C = Columbus Area


Completing Course #1 - "Amputation & Prosthetic Overview"


No Classes Scheduled


Completing Course #2 - "Lower-Limb Prosthetics:  Transtibial"


C - 5/06/2014 - The Laurels of Worthington - 12:00


D - 5/28/2014 - Eaglewood - 12:00


Completing Course #3 - "Lower-Limb Prosthetics:  Transfemoral"


D - 5/12/2014 - Mercy Sienna - 12:00


D - 5/15/2014 - Huber Heights Health Care - 12:00


D - 5/16/2014 - Friendship Village - 12:00


D - 5/22/2014 - Wilson Memorial Hospital - 12:00


Course #4 - "Lower Extremity Amputee/Prosthetic Evaluation & Outcomes Measures" 


C - 5/06/2014 - The Laurels of Norworth - 12:00


D - 5/14/2014 - Dayspring - 12:30


C - 5/20/2014 - The Gables at Green Pastures - 1:00


Course #5 - "Lower-Limb Prosthetic Gait Training"


D - 5/8/2014 - Quaker Heights - 12:00


Course #6 - "Lower-Limb Prosthetic Gait Deviations"


D - 5/19/2014 - Kettering Medical Center - 12:00


Course #7 - "Upper-Limb Prosthetics"   


D - 5/8/2014 - Beavercreek Health Center - Course #7 - 12:00


Course #8 - Prosthetic Advances


No Classes Scheduled


Course #9 - "Partial Foot, Ankle/Knee/Hip Disarticulation, & Transpelvic Prosthetics"


 D - 5/7/2014 - Springmeade - Course #9 - 12:00


Course #10 - "Microprocessor Controlled Knees"


D - 5/21/2014 - Pinnacle Point - Course #10 - 12:00

Optimus Prosthetics, Dayton
8517 North Dixie Drive, Suite 100/300
Dayton, Ohio 45414
(937) 454-1900


Optimus Prosthetics, Columbus
3132 Olentangy River Road
Columbus, Ohio 43202 

(614) 263-LIMB (5462)

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