David's Genium Story
David Henson has just finished competing in the inaugural Invictus Games. He was the captain for Team GB and led his team through a remarkable four days of sport. In addition to his own personal success at the games, he helped show the world how to celebrate human endeavor, overcome adversity and the power of sport for rehabilitation. He’s still training hard, has just finished his master’s degree in biomedical engineering at Imperial College and is about to start his PHD – oh and he’ll also shortly welcome a new addition to his family, his first child.
David Henson is also a double amputee. He lost both legs after stepping on an IED whilst on detachment from 22 Engineer Regiment to the Counter IED Task Force in Helmand, Afghanistan. After moving from Camp Bastian to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham where military personnel injured in conflict zones are treated, David began his long journey of rehabilitation.
In April 2011, David moved to the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre at Headley Court in Surrey. After relying briefly on a wheelchair, it didn’t take him long to get up on prosthetic legs, starting first with ‘stubbies’ before progressing to C-Legs, he learned how to balance, realign his body and train new muscles.
David was recently upgraded to two Ottobock Genium knees, and found the transition easy. “I found the move up to Genium very straight forward. Because they are so intuitive, you can relax while you’re walking. Once you start to understand the additional functionality as well, they are great. I wear them every day now.”
The Genium Prosthetic knee joint is one of the world’s most advanced prosthetic knees, offering a very natural walking pattern. It offers more physical capabilities than any other prosthetic leg including running, walking backwards, crossing and stepping over obstacles in a more anatomically correct way, and assisting climbing stairs step-over-step with minimal compensatory movement.
The Genium’s gyroscope and accelerometers measure the velocity and position of the knee in space. The angle sensor determines the position of your knee joint. The specialised software analyses the data being gathered from its sensors one hundred times per second. All this means that the Genium can determine in real time the support you need from your leg, depending on where you are in your walking cycle or whether you’re going up or down steps or an incline.
For David, it means that life hasn’t stopped after limb-loss. “My Genium knees offer me so much support - my back isn’t so sore anymore as I’m not using those muscles to compensate as much. The knees lock when I need them to, so without thinking, I’m using a lot less energy and am able to be on my feet all day.’
‘With my first child on the way, I have full confidence in the knees – I’ll be comfortable picking up and carrying my child, as I’ve seen mates with Genium do this. It’s going to be an amazing feeling.”
As for the Invictus Games? “The Games will continue as long as Servicemen and women need them”, says David Henson. But for him, the power of sport & rehabilitation has helped him reclaim his life. “It’s going to be another busy year…”
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