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KGU Students Learn About How to Use Prosthetics with the Help of a Former Paralympian

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On June 14th, in preparation for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, Kwansei Gakuin University hosted an event on the Nishinomiya Uegahara Campus Central Lawn where students could test out athlete prosthetics and physically experience what it’s like to be a Paralympian.

Jun Haruta, a 2012 Paralympian, as well as prosthesist/orthotist Atsuo Okino, visited the campus through the cooperation of Stand, an NPO which works to popularize sports for people with disabilities. Students wore demo-use prosthetics which are easy to handle, even for beginners, and were able to see up close how Haruta, who lost the lower part of his left foot to an illness, puts on his prosthetic. The demonstration was held three times in total in the morning and afternoon, and a total of 65 students participated. After a student listened to Okino’s explanation of how to put on the prosthetic, they sat down on a chair to put it on, then slowly stood up and tried to walk. At first, even standing was a chore, and some students needed to lean on others to do so. However, Okino and Haruta gave tips about things like how to distribute weight, and they gradually got better, to the point that they could break into a light run. Meanwhile, there were also students who walked and jumped with the prosthetic so easily that you could hardly believe it was their first time wearing one.

 Okino said, “If the students were able to learn about the difficulty of moving with a prosthetic and the job of a prosthesist/orthotist, and develop even a little interest, I’m happy.” The students who tried on a prosthetic made comments such as “It was really hard to place my center of gravity. Instead of rotating my feet to run, it felt more like I was bouncing on a trampoline,” and “Paralympians made it look easy to me, but I was able to learn how hard it is. I think that I’ll see the contests a little differently the next time I watch them in competition.”

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