Children in England will be able to receive sports prostheses on the National Health Service (NHS) in an attempt to encourage young people to get active and give them the chance to become Paralympians.
A £1.5 million ($1.8 million/€1.7 million) fund was created by the Department of Health following an announcement by the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt during the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
The money has been split with funding being invested into NHS limb centres to help with requests for prostheses and the Child Prostheses Research Collaboration.
It is hoped the investment into the research collaboration will bring the latest technology into the NHS and help enable children to benefit from prostheses which are tailored to their needs.
“Team GB surpassed everyone’s expectations at last year’s Paralympics and this investment will ensure the next generation of children who have either been born without a limb or who have lost a limb will be able to lead an active life,” said Hunt.
“It’s wonderful that the first children are now receiving their blades and that they will be able to reach their sporting potential.
“I hope some may even be selected in the future as members of Team GB.”
Richard Whitehead, who was a member of the ParalympicsGB team which earned 147 medals at Rio 2016, has backed the move.
The double leg amputee and two-time Paralympic champion in the men’s T42 200 metres, believes the prostheses will help improve young people’s freedom.
“Having run thousands of miles on prosthetics myself I’m delighted to see the next generation take their first steps in experiencing the freedom of running whether just for general enjoyment or towards achieving their own Paralympic ambitions,” Whitehead said.
Kiera Roche, chief executive of LimbPower, the National Disability Sports Organisation for people with limb impairments, was also positive about the move.
“The children’s prosthetic fund has been welcomed by the amputee community as a really positive step in supporting children to be more confident and socially engaged, providing them with the equipment to participate and immerse themselves fully in school P.E. and community activities,” said Roche.
Source: Sportal News.