Moving- and Lifting - Beyond Amputation

Published on January 04, 2019

amputee patient

Moving- and Lifting - Beyond Amputation

Colin Potts was enjoying an active and fulfilling career as a chef in the summer of 2000, when a misstep on his home staircase injured his left foot. What he at first thought was a minor injury turned out to be torn tendons and ligaments in his foot and caused significant nerve damage in his lower leg.


After 20 surgeries to help relieve the pain, doctors at a New York hospital gave Colin devastating news: Further operations would not mitigate his unrelenting pain. In December 2016, Colin underwent his 21st surgery, this time to amputate his left leg below the knee.


Three months later, Colin learned about Adventist HealthCare Rehabilitation’s comprehensive amputee services. Compassionate team members care for patients both in the Rockville hospital’s inpatient program and through the Amputee Clinic, which offers lifelong follow-up care. Colin received personalized physical therapy in Adventist Rehabilitation’s outpatient program three days a week to maximize his physical capabilities, manage his limb and learn proper limb care.

“My goal was to get rid of the crutches and walk again,” he said. “Within a few months of receiving therapy, I was able to walk for more than two miles in Adventist Rehabilitation’s annual 5K event.”

Today, Colin leg presses 600 pounds during workouts.

Terrence Sheehan, MD, chief medical officer of Adventist Rehabilitation, worked closely with Colin to monitor his progress during therapy and recommend the appropriate technology for his physical activity goals.


“I recommended a prosthetic to help Colin achieve his initial goal to walk,” Dr. Sheehan said. “He successfully achieved his goal of walking and set new goals to run and lift weights, which required the use of different prosthetic technology.”

Farhad Ostovari, PT, DPT, director of Adventist Rehabilitation’s Outpatient Clinic at Medical Center Orthotics & Prosthetics, managed Colin’s physical therapy regimen during his first few months. Farhad provided targeted physical therapy to help Colin strengthen his leg and maximize the use of his prosthetic.

“It’s not uncommon for amputee patients to be reluctant to challenge themselves physically,” Farhad said. “However, Colin was determined to push himself a little more each day.”

Colin is now training to qualify for weightlifting at the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo. With help from his team of experts at Adventist Rehabilitation, he feels stronger than ever. Colin works out six days a week and leg presses more than 600 pounds at his local gym.

“The care I received from Adventist Rehabilitation has helped me get back out into the world,” he said. “I never want to be limited by my amputation or let it define who I am as a person.”

Colin has donated to the Adventist Rehabilitation 5K Walk, Wheel and Run Event to help other patients benefit from high-quality care. The 2019 event will be held on April 27.

“It inspires me to share my story with other amputees and give them hope to reclaim their lives,” Colin said.

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