"Don't give up." It is a simple message, but one that comes from experience. Just five years ago, Mase Mattingly was a strong, active man training to be a firefighter in Gilbert, Arizona. Just before graduation from the fire academy in 2006, he suffered a tragic fall and shattered his right ankle.
Because of the fall, Mattingly's leg was amputated just below the knee. Despite knowing that National Fire Protection Association standards prevented amputees from being firefighters Mattingly went forward with the surgery.
But, Mattingly was not willing to give up his dream of becoming a firefighter. He pushed himself, physically and emotionally, and ultimately passed the NFPA physical tests. His fire chief recognized the asset he had in Mattingly and made an exception to keep him on the job, despite the amputation.
Now, the NFPA is in the process of or rewriting its standards for firefighters with amputations.
Recovering From Amputation: Physical and Emotional Issues
As Mattingly's fight shows, adjusting to life with amputation can be an difficult journey. Whether a limb is lost due to a car accident, sports injury, illness, infection, medical malpractice orÂ on-the-job accidentÂ in Arizona, an amputee must face the challenge of accepting and adjusting to a new normal: relearning to live without at least one extremity.
Advances in medicine and understanding of amputees means that physical obstacles can often be overcome through physical therapy, training, prosthetics and other adaptive equipment. The emotional hurdles that an amputee must overcome are often the most difficult. These may include insecurities or questions relating to body image, sexuality, a fear of rejection, depression, anxiety and grief.
For many amputees, a strong support system of friends, family members and coworkers as well as a team of experts trained in grief counseling and cognitive therapies are the keys to working through the emotional issues related to a lost leg or arm. Peer support groups and have an amputee mentors have also been shown to help individuals relearn to live full lives after an amputation.
Finding the Resources to Ensure a Full Recovery
Rebuilding life after an amputation can be a long and costly experience. Often the stress of paying for medical expenses, rehabilitation, and prosthetics compounds the emotional duress many amputees experience.
A TucsonÂ personal injury lawyer experienced in representing amputees can help identify and pursue the necessary compensation that you need to recover from a life-changing injury.