07-31-2009, 09:38 PM #1
Warren Frank riding/racing with a Prosthetic
PWC OFFSHORE RACER: WARREN FRANK
by Sierra Alpha
Warren Frank is the 2009 National Offshore Challenged Athlete for Personal Watercraft Racing, whereas he won the title at the LB2CAT on July 12th. He competes on a Kawasaki ULTRA 260X and is a multi disciplined athlete. This interview was conducted to bring awareness to the challenges from the perspective of an athlete who uses a prosthesis encounters in a very extreme power sport.
Describe the prosthesis you are using:
The top part that my residual limb fits into is custom made 'socket'. A plaster mold is taken of my limb (when it's time for a new prosthesis), then transferred into the socket made of carbon fiber. The 'foot' part is made by the leader in Prosthetic components located in Alisio Viejo, California called 'Ossur'.
What modifications does it have for riding in salt water if any?
My everyday walking foot is called a 'VSP' which has exposed moving parts which is not recommenced for salt water.
I use a foot called the 'Ceterus' for PWC riding which is similar to the VSP but all the parts are waterproof. It also has a shock like the VSP but its internal and the Ceterus's resistance can be stiffened up with the use of a mt.bike shock pump.
For example if I'm walking or PWC'ing I leave it on the lowest resistance but if I'm pushing a very heavy leg press, then I have the option to make it very stiff to match the length of my real leg.
Do you have to lubricate any parts and if so what do you use for that?
On the VSP ( everyday walking foot ) it has a piston that moves up and down which acts as a shock. I have to lubricate that about once a month. With the Ceterus that I use in the water, no lubrication is required.
Do you have to dry any of the parts out?
After riding I spray 'Salt Away' all over the foot then fresh water. I remove the foot shell and the fabric 'spectra' sock and let that all dry out then spray the metal parts on the foot with silicone spray or whatever I spray my Jetski engine compartment with.
Describe the suction aspect for your leg stump to stay secure?
My prosthesis is held on with suction which is the best method (there are many) to keep my leg on, it makes it feel its part of 'me'.
The less 'up and down' movement the better, between my residual limb and the socket when walking or moving around is best.
Too much movement will quickly result in an abrasion of my skin which requires me to let it heal while not wearing the prosthesis which means I have to get around on crutches which I HATE!!
What about the valve? Brass elbow?
In order to get the air out of the socket area I drilled a hole at the bottom inside of the socket, tapped it out so it had threads, and screwed in a brass 90 degree elbow fitting.
I then attached a small rubber tube which is connected to a one way valve that I purchase from any pet store for $1.99. They use it as a one way valve for fish tanks.
In the prosthetic industry the have custom one way valves but they are expensive and malfunction often. When my valve gets maybe some sand or dirt in it and it malfunctions, I just remove it and blow with my mouth.
If that doesn't work I throw that valve in the trash and attach a new one. I keep a spare one with me at all times in my car and on my Jetski.
What type of shoe do you wear with it and why?
When I raced my Jet Ski in the LB2CAT, I wore workers boots from Wal Mart that I had in my closet,.
Some times I ride with wet style running shoes if the chop or swell isn't too big. I'd like to try some OTB Boots soon. My lifter wedges hurt the side of my foot when wearing running shoes.
Do you run the risk of losing it? If so, how could you loose it? What do you do to keep it from being lost?
Sure there's that chance. If I fell off the ski and hit the water where it pushes the knee sleeve down (see images) down my thigh, breaking the airtight seal thus there is now no way for it to stay on. It is highly unlikely that this would happen.
On the bottom of the knee sleeve I have a Velcro strap wrapped around it so it is unable to get pushed up.
At the other end of the knee sleeve is my thigh which is nice and tight under my wetsuit. If the suction is working well like it normally does, I could probably get picked up, upside down by my prosthetic foot.
A knee sleeve is cylindrical shape normally with fabric outside and silicon on the inside. I roll it up my thigh, push my stump into the socket then roll the rest down the socket, therefore making an airtight seal between the skin on my thigh and the outside of the carbon fiber socket, the air in the socket got pushed out of the one way valve. It is important that the knee sleeve is durable but not too rigid or it interferes with the bending of the knee mostly behind the knee area.
Any other ideas?
Shawn Alladio, my PWC racing coach, has suggested that I tie a small buoy to my prosthetic foot. The ones typically used at the end of a water ski rope. Its on my to-do list.
Below are some products that I use from Ossur www.Ossur.com who sponsors me with many of their products. Insurance only pays for one foot and one carbon fiber socket. They kind of use me as a crash test dummy for new products.
I then have to report back to them about my experience with the products they gave me. I also periodically go up to their facility in Aliso Viejo and they use me to show their products when they are training new reps or prostheticians that come to their facility to learn about their prosthetic hardware.
I'm EXTREMLY lucky because one of the feet below with the custom made socket would cost around $15,000. A knee sleeve costs around $150 and they are very easily damaged.
When I bend my knee the fabric and silicon stretch to the max making it very thin. If I'm not aware while climbing in the car or sitting at my desk, I may just bump my knee softly on a hard object and a tiny pin prick hole will appear on the knee sleeve which will make the suction worthless.
Warren competes on his 3 seater Kawasaki Ultra 260X, a 260 horsepower personal watercraft. The Long Beach to Catalina and Back offshore PWC race is a Nationally ranked offshore event consisting of 58 miles of an open ocean water crossing. 2009 saw the introduction of the 'Challenged Athlete' category of which Warren took top honors. His next offshore race is scheduled for the Dana Point to Oceanside and Back race of 55 miles. Warren's training program consists not only of dialing in his race boat, but his prosthesis and riding 'kit'. His personal protective equipment (PPE) includes the needs of his prosthetic foot. Being the first offshore amputee racer, he is setting the pace for those who will follow and build upon the Challenged Athlete division. Warren races in the 'standing' position which puts his prosthetic through the most grueling and demanding trials for impact, stability and reliability. Nothing compares to 'Hard Core Offshore'! Ask Warren Frank.
Please visit Warren's Links:
For more on this story visit here:
08-01-2009, 11:41 AM #2
way to go Warren!!
For Immediate Release:
July 30, 2009
WARREN FRANK - PWCOFFSHORE 'Gunz Group' Racer
Introducing our newest PWCOFFSHORE Gunz Racer, Mr. Warren Frank!
Warren brings a tremendous amount of 'Passion, Drive and Dedication' to the sport, representing the PWCOFFSHORE Gunz Racing team. An accomplished triathlete and power sport enthusiast, he recently took the 2009 LB2CAT National Challenged Athlete Title on July 12th.
Warren has already made a tremendous impact on our PWC (personal watercraft) offshore racing sport paving the way for a new category of PWC athletes. The PWCOFFSHORE Race Team welcomes Warren into the Gunz Racing division with great enthusiasm.
The PWCOFFSHORE Race Team looks forward to working with Warren Frank to grow the sport and achieve success on the racecourse. It should also be noted that Warren has been able to achieve competition success racing with a prosthetic leg against able bodied competitors. Again, a reflection of Warren's intensely driven nature and ability to succeed.
Warren's racing compliments the enthusiasm he has for speed and pushing his own limits. He enthusiastically applies his energies creating awareness and support for challenged and able bodied athletes to try out PWC offshore events.
Warren usually places in the top 3 in his class during triathlons. In the Big Bear Xterra Offroad Triathlon, Warren entered the "able body" division and came 3rd in his age group. After 6 years of running triathlons, Warren has transitioned to Offshore & Endurance PWC racing where Warren states that "you need a similar mindset of pushing through the pain when your body tells you to stop."
Warren has adopted an extremely aggressive PWC offshore training regime, "I was on my PWC training 3 times a week prior to the LB2CAT" said Warren. "Riding as fast as I can for an hour to simulate a race and the other ride I'll go easier and maybe do some offset training drills. Four times a week I go to the gym and do weights then afterwards either run on the treadmill for 20 minutes, run real stairs for 20 minutes or ride the spin bike on a very high resistance (standing only) for 30 minutes' states Warren.
Warren further explains, "After a training session I'll stretch my muscle groups. My new rule is when my Jetski's engine is running, I'm standing. No more sitting. When driving on the road anywhere-anytime I have to use my forearm exerciser, I have different ones that I squeeze open and closed or just keep closed as long as I can".
Warrren Frank went on to say "I want to thank everyone at PWCOFFSHORE.COM and everyone involved with them for accepting me into their elite group. We live in this incredible age where prosthetic parts and components allow me to compete on a level and be competitive with everyone else and just the fact that my piers have the confidence in my racing performance is truly inspiring."
PWCOFFSHORE is honored to have Mr. Warren Frank as a member of the Team.
"Don't cry over spilled milk, suck it up, move on and have fun doing it."
7/4/2009, Warren Frank
About PWCoffshore Gunz Group
The PWCOFFSHORE Gunz Group team racers compete in either of the Amateur, Sportsman and Challenged Athlete classes of PWC endurance and offshore racing. Mark Gerner, founder of PWCOFFSHORE.com states "these racers are the future of PWC Offshore and Endurance racing. Those designated are relatively new to racing but have differentiated themselves with tremendous passion and have excelled in the sport. They have represented the sport with class, knowledge and professionalism."
10-25-2009, 10:00 PM #3
Keep Racing! Sounds like you have it down pat. Congrats on the win!
10-26-2009, 03:24 AM #4
- Join Date
- Oct 2006
10-26-2009, 07:39 PM #5
10-26-2009, 08:03 PM #6
10-26-2009, 08:20 PM #7
10-26-2009, 08:49 PM #8
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