Marc Bence/for metro edmonton
An Edmonton soldier who lost both legs from an explosion in Afghanistan is hoping a new program he helped launch will give amputees the rehabilitation services they require.
Master Cpl. Paul Franklin says the new "Freedom Through Spirit" program will help amputees get the enthusiastic motivation they need to make it through the transition from clinical rehabilitation to playing active sports like wheelchair basketball.
"Young or old, diabetic or traumatic amputees, all can benefit from any type of physical training," Franklin said.
The program will be offered at the University of Alberta’s Steadward Centre, which already provides activity and sports programs for people with disabilities.
Officials say it’s the only facility of its kind in Canada that now offers such a program desperately needed because of an increase in the number of physically fit soldiers who lost limbs after their service in Afghanistan.
Franklin says the wait to get rehabilitation pays a mental toll on patients, but a program like FTS will also help them get emotional support from other amputees in the program.
The new program was inspired after a visit Franklin made to the Walter Reed Army Medical Centre in the United States.
Patients and physiotherapists with the city’s Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital say every amputee who is admitted through its doors will also get treatment from the Steadward Centre.