Leg amputation: Colin's story 

In this video, Colin Edwards talks about why his leg was amputated, and how losing a leg needn't stop you from leading an active life.

Why amputation is necessary

Transcript of Leg amputation: Colin's story

(man) This is the home of Colin Edwards. He's 52.

He lives here in the Teign Valley in Devon

with his two children, Emily and Tom.

12 years ago he decided to have his lower right leg amputated.

(Colin) I had a motorcycle accident when I was 18 years old,

so they saved my leg at that instance.

I had no motor movement,

I had hypersensation in some places and no sensation in other places.

Before I had any injuries to myself I ran for South Devon cross country

and played a lot of squash for South Devon.

All that stopped overnight

and I can always remember in my 20s and 30s

having these dreams about running again,

about being able to be... running fluidly.

(man) When he turned 40 that dream was to turn into reality.

One day one of the doctors said to me,

"Have you ever considered having your leg amputated?"

I was quite happy to see the back of that leg.

(woman) It can be a very traumatic thing for someone who has lost their limb.

For a lot of patients, though, it's the start of the process of getting better.

- (man) Where are we, Colin? - This is the Exeter Mobility Centre.

A place I've come to know very well, as you can imagine.

And I'm about to see my prosthetist, David House,

who has been dealing with me ever since I've become an amputee.

The running didn't happen at first because the technology was good,

but not for real running.

I was farming then, I was a very active person.

I would jump over a gate and leave my leg the other side of it.

In thick mud you'd be walking and suddenly your leg wasn't there,

it was left behind.

But then this new system came along, the Ice Ross system.

As I do that, you can't hear it but air is being pushed out

and so a vacuum is being formed inside here.

That is not going to come off.

(shouting)

Running was again going to be a possibility.

I've got my three London Marathon ones.

Colin's quite amazing, as you've already seen

from the amount that he is able to do on his prosthetic limb.

A New York Marathon one there.

Not all of our patients are able to run like Colin does.

Medals.

He is quite exceptional, which makes him really good fun to work with.

We can try different products on him

than we would a lot of the population that we cover.

These Grizzlies are about 19 or 20 miles,

but they are severe runs, they are really, really hard runs.

(man) Colin is having a new leg fitted.

It's the latest carbon fibre technology.

You can see we've got no heel on this

and so you can't realistically use it for everyday activities

because you're wobbling around.

But for straight-line activity and sports

it's terrific because you've just got a pure spring.

We try to give an individual service

so every person is assessed for their individual needs.

We're trying to look at the patient's need

rather than, "This is the catalogue, what we provide."

For Colin we're looking at what he wants to be able to do, which is running.

Somebody who is elderly might want the leg that is as light as possible

to get the most out of their life.

(Colin) I think it's important to say, "I'm not disabled. I am enabled."

We're trying to look at the patient's need

rather than, "This is the catalogue, what we provide."

Looking at what they need and putting those services in place.

(Colin) That's Everest I'm looking at now, chaps.

Look at that.

We've done a couple of expeditions raising money for charities.

We went to Base Camp Everest.

Here he comes. Intrepid explorer.

We haven't found any Yeti prints yet.

That's on Everest, standing on my head, as you do.

Peerless. Faultless.

I cannot praise the Exeter Mobility Centre enough.

(man) Can we gather round?

(shouts)

(Colin) I run with a local group of runners called the Hash House Harriers.

They've been a tremendous help to my morale

and to my courage, I suppose.

And we all have hash handles or hash names,

and of course my hash name is Forrest Stump.

(shouts)

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