Children who have either been born without a limb or who have lost a limb are being given new running and swimming blades from the NHS.
Children across England are being given specialised sports prostheses from the NHS to help them run, swim and play sport, and even become the next Paralympians.
This follows the creation of a £1.5 million fund by the Department of Health, announced by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt during last summer’s Paralympic Games in Rio.
The money has been split between funding for NHS limb centres to fund requests for prostheses and investment in a Child Prostheses Research Collaboration, bringing the latest technology into the NHS. It will also help more children to benefit from sports prostheses that are tailored to their needs and the sports they want to play.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said:
Every child should be able to participate in sport.
Team GB surpassed everyone’s expectations at last year’s Paralympics and this investment will ensure the next generation of children who have either been born without a limb or who have lost a limb will be able to lead an active life.
It’s wonderful that the first children are now receiving their blades and that they will be able to reach their sporting potential – I hope some may even be selected in the future as members of Team GB.
Ben, 13, from Brighton, has just been fitted for his new running blade and has enjoyed using his new blade to play football and run.
Ben’s mother, Kate Moore, said:
We’re really pleased Ben has been fitted with a new running blade. After watching the success of Team GB last year, this blade means Ben can develop his interest in sport and could become part of the next generation of Team GB. We hope more children and young people like Benjamin will be able to benefit too.
Funding for the prostheses will be provided through NHS limb centres across the country. Limb centres are able to apply for funding to source the prosthetic limbs from suppliers and fit them.
Kiera Roche, Chief Executive of LimbPower, the National Disability Sports Organisation for people with limb impairments, said:
The children’s prosthetic fund has been welcomed by the amputee community as a really positive step in supporting children to be more confident and socially engaged, providing them with the equipment to participate and immerse themselves fully in school PE and community activities.