In March 2018 the government announced that they will be renewing their £1.5m pledge to provide sports prosthetic limbs for children. The Department of Health initially made the funding available in the wake of the 2016 Paralympics with the Secretary of State for Health affirming his belief that every child should be able to participate in sport. Since then, over 200 children have been granted government funded specialist sports prostheses under the scheme.
There are currently an estimated 2,000 children in the UK who are without limbs, for a variety of reasons. Some are born with congenital deformities, and some suffer amputations as a result of deadly, but often treatable, conditions, such as meningitis and septicaemia.
Amputation, or in some cases, multiple amputations, can have a profound impact on a child. Their challenges will continue throughout their lives as they undergo regular bone trimming operations as their body continues to grow and change. Keeping up physically with school, coping with the difficulties of social integration with able bodied peers, adjusting to more independent living at university and entering the world of work will all bring new demands and challenges. Day to day pain or blistering at the amputation stump site from their prosthetic limb will add further strain. They will probably need psychological support. In addition to the physical difficulties that they will face with mobility and independence, they will also incur increased costs.
An effective prosthesis for a child can help them to feel confident returning to school, enabling them to continue with their education, interact with their peers in the classroom and the playground and, with the help of specialist sports prosthetics, such as running blades, they can participate on the sports field.
The specialist injury team at Boyes Turner are experienced in helping individuals who have experienced avoidable limb loss. We understand the need for early rehabilitation, physical and psychological support, and the importance of good prosthetic provision, for people of all ages. We are experts at achieving high value compensation awards which ensure that our clients’ needs are properly met. Our education colleagues work closely with our younger amputee clients and their families to ensure that appropriate therapy provision and support in school is in place to help the disabled child get back on their feet and reach their goals.
We appreciate that not everyone who has experienced limb loss has a claim for compensation and welcome the news that government funding will continue for specialist sports prostheses for amputee children to enable them to participate fully in society.