Creighton Wong looked out at a sea of amputee athletes gathered for a specialized clinic at UCSF.
Some lost their legs to cancer; others lost them in motor vehicle accidents. Some are new to this world of artificial legs, and others learned to adapt many years ago.
For Wong, 38, he knows no other existence. He is a congenital amputee, born without the lower half of his right leg.
“Growing up, I made do the best I could with whatever was given to me,” said Wong, who was raised in Oakland, Calif. “Now I look at these kids and the opportunities that we’re able to provide for them. A lot of it is having the new technology and the new equipment that’s going to support active lifestyles and their sports lifestyles in much better ways.
“And not only is that important, but it’s also the community that’s being built up with people to mentor them. Because it’s a lot easier to figure out how to run when you have somebody that you can model running after,” he said.
Wong was among more than 60 amputee athletes participating in UCSF’s Amputee Comprehensive Training (ACT) program, the first civilian program of its kind designed to assist amputees in maximizing their physical potential through a broad range of resources offered by the UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery.