Cory Hardin: Relying on Humor and Support

When something bad happens in life, we have a choice: get down about it, or see it as a challenge and rise above it. For Optimus patient Cory Hardin, he made the decision to see life after his amputation in July 2005 as an opportunity.

When Cory was 17, he was traveling in a car with his brother and his brother's girlfriend on I-95 in Florida. Suddenly, their car was side swiped, resulting in the car flipping over. During the accident, Cory's right arm somehow went outside of the window, resulting in damage that required an amputation. His brother's girlfriend suffered a skull fracture and an injury to her arm, which resulted in an above-the-elbow amputation.

A week before his 18th birthday, Cory had his right arm amputated below the elbow, an event that would change his life forever.

Since the amputation, Cory has been surrounded by his support system of his high school friends and family. This support system also includes his wife and newborn son, who offer him daily support and inspiration. 

Cory was also helped by his sense of humor and upbeat attitude. He knew he had been dealt an often difficult situation, but chose to approach it as an opportunity. This isn't to say there haven't been struggles. Cory struggles with opening things like doors with knobs and jars. There have also been times when he's gotten down about his life. However, he said that's when it pays to have the right people around you.

"Find a support system," Cory said when asked about advice he'd give to other amputees. "Someone that will pick you up when you're down.  Take you out for ice cream or go out of their way to make you smile. This situation is not the end of the world."

Cory continues to live life on his terms, spending time with his family and even changing diapers for his baby son. He is also a high school substitute teacher and football coach. He is also currently enrolled at the University of Dayton to finish his Master's Degree in school counseling. 

George Lyons: Humor Helps

When you meet George, the first thing you notice is he is a bit of a jokester. He likes to tease people (all in good fun of course) and make them laugh along with him. Little did he know how much he would need his sense of humor to get him through one of the most difficult challenges he has faced thus far in his life.


It all started with a blood clot that cut off circulation to George's pinky toe. He lost that toe, followed by all the others on his foot, and, because of complications related to his Diabetes, he ended up having to have his leg amputated below his knee on January 19 of this year. It was a painful journey, but even in the midst of that, George never lost his sense of humor.


We asked George what he felt his biggest challenges have been now that he is an amputee. He chuckled and said jokingly, "Putting up with my wife and daughter because I can't run away!" 


On a more serious note, he told us that it wasn't always easy to keep a positive attitude. He admits that, although he is a naturally positive person, he has struggled with depression and second guessing whether he made the right decision going through amputation. However, he realizes that he really did not have any other choice. The support of his family, his friends, the hospital staff and the staff here at Optimus has been invaluable in helping him to stay positive and keep moving forward.


One of the other big challenges that George has faced has been learning and adapting to new routines. For example, he shared a story that happened not too long ago. He said he remembered Travis (his prosthetist) telling him how important it was to wear his shrinker at night when he wasn't wearing his prosthesis. Well, one night, he decided not to wear it. 


"I realized in the morning when I couldn't get my leg on that Travis was right," George said.


George takes it all in stride. His biggest piece of advice to others going through this journey is to stay positive because things will get better. This is advice that he takes himself each and every day.


Since the beginning of George' journey to getting back on his feet, he made it clear that his goal was to get a prosthesis in time so he can walk his granddaughter down the aisle at her wedding on June 6. We were delighted to be able to help George make this dream come true. George was able to take his prosthesis home on May 20, in plenty of time for George to practice wearing it and walking. In fact, on the day he got his prosthesis, George insisted on walking out to his car rather than going out in a wheelchair. He was beaming with pride the entire time.


When asked if he would recommend Optimus Prosthetics to his friends and family, without hesitation he replied, "YES! You all have been there for me the entire time and supported me all the way. You even went with me to my follow up appointments with my surgeon! I would absolutely recommend Optimus!" 

New Hires at Optimus Prosthetics

We're expanding our staff at Optimus Prosthetics! 


Two new professionals are joining us as we continue to offer the highest quality patient-focused care. Andrea Kinsinger and Kelsey Barris are not only qualified professionals, but also wonderful people that we can't wait to have on board at Optimus!


Here are a few things to know about each of our new team members:

  • Andrea Kinsinger, PT- Andrea has been a PT for 29 years, and began working with amputees in 1990 at Miami Valley Hospital by volunteering to be the "amputee specialist." This resulted in Andrea starting the amputee program and clinic at MVH. She is excited to start her work at Optimus because it aligns with her professional goals and because of Optimus' reputation.
  • Kelsey Barris-  Kelsey has worked as a resident at Optimus, completing her residency on May 12. She is taking her clinical patient management exam in June, and will be working at Optimus after completing the exam. She is excited to continue working with her coworkers, and is looking forward to continuing to grow and provide patient-focused care at Optimus.
Jim's Corner


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.



Proper Trunk Rotation and Arm Swing


Last month we discussed establishing a combined stepping pattern and establishing trunk & pelvic rotation with prosthetic gait. This month we will discuss a drill to help patients who are struggling with the concept of proper trunk rotation and/or arm swing. 


As humans, we are reciprocal beings in that when we ambulate our pelvis will rotate in one direction and our trunk and shoulder girdle will rotate in the opposite direction, with arm swing as the result. When proper trunk rotation is restored it also provides an increase in balance. One drill I use to help patients with this is the "shooters" drill.



This is a good drill to assist patients in learning how to facilitate trunk rotation and arm swing in opposition to the pelvic rotation during gait. The idea is each hand is a gun and they are placed in their holsters on each side of their pelvis. The patient is to draw one gun out of it holster and "shoot" the opposite foot with the opposite arm finger. Then, as they return that finger gun to its holster they shoot the other foot with the opposite hand and then back into its holster. 


To help the learning process the patient may have to start statically, by just shooting the opposite foot with the opposite finger ("stationary shooters"). When mastered, have the patient walk forward and shoot each foot that is out front with the opposite hand.






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

In This Issue

D = Dayton Area

C = Columbus Area


Course #1

No courses scheduled.


Course #2

D- 6/11, Maria Joseph, 12:30 p.m.


Course #3

D- 6/25, Maria Joseph, 12:30 p.m.


Course #4

D- 6/25, Excel Sports Medicine, 12:00 p.m.


Course #5

D- 6/9, Crossroads, 12:00 p.m.


C- 6/16, Darby Glenn, 12:00 p.m.


D- 6/17, Pinnacle Point, 12:00 p.m.


Course #6

D- 6/11, Oaks of W. Kettering, 12:00 p.m


D- 6/15, Hospitality Homes-Xenia, 12:00 p.m.


Course #7

D- 6/24, Greene Memorial, 12:15 p.m.


Course #8

D- 6/19, Resthaven, 12:30 p.m. 


Course #9

D- 6/18, Cypress Pointe, 12:00 p.m.


Course #10

No courses scheduled.

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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