The rising awareness for amputees in today’s media

Amanda Kroll '19, Page Designer

During the past six months there were some struggles with someone in my family having two amputations on their legs. During that time I did a lot of research about the process and the healing time and everything there is about it. I don’t think I would have noticed this before but, amputees, have been seen in the media a lot more in a positive way. I have seen people in movies, commercials, even on social media in a positive way who have an amputation.

During the summer there was a movie released called Skyscraper starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. In the movie, Johnson plays a man named WIll Sawyer who is a former FBI agent and U.S war veteran who now works on security programs for skyscraper buildings. In the movie he’s on an assignment in Hong Kong, in the world’s tallest and safest building. The building then catches on fire and he gets framed for it.

As a wanted man on the run he needs to find the men in the building that have blamed him and to also rescue his family in the process while being trapped inside the fiery inferno.One of the biggest things about Johnsons character is that he is an above the left leg amputee. There are a few scenes in the movie that you can see his prosthetic clearly.

Besides the motion picture movie,the company P&G launched an advertising campaign for Gillette razors that is linked to the Seattle Seahawks rookie, Shaquem Griffin. Griffin had his left hand amputated at the age of 4 due to a birth defect called amniotic band syndrome. In the 20-second commercial, it opens with Griffin depicted as a child holding a football in his right hand as he gazes into a mirror in their bathroom. He then raises his left arm which shows no hand. In the next scene, Griffin and his twin brother Shaquill are being shown how to properly shave by their father, Terry Griffin.

The commercial then shows the boys doing football drills in their backyard. The final scene of the 30 second ad shows Shaquem Griffin putting on a Seahawks football helmet in a locker room. P&G said that they are proud to share his inspiring story and that griffin knows nothing comes easy.

In October, Nike posted a video to their page about a American Paratriathlete and former Paralympic track athlete named Sarah Reinertsen. She enjoys swimming, riding her bike and running. The catch is that she was born with proximal femoral focal deficiency, which is a bone-growth disorder. Her leg was amputated above the knee at the age of seven. At the age of 11 Reinertsen was inspired by amputee marathon runner Paddy Rossbach and started running. She went to her first track meet when she was 13 and broke the 100 m world record for above the knee amputees.

She has competed in many things like season 10 of The Amazing Race with her friend, Peter Harsch. In 2003,2007, and 2009 she was the ITU Paratriathlon World Champion in her classification. In 1999, she won Best Female Athlete with a Disability for the US Olympic Committee. 1998, Female Athlete of the Year  for the New York Road Runners Club & Achilles Track Club. She also won many other awards in her time while also featuring on the cover of Runner’s World in 2004.

Another female who has not one but four amputations is Isabelle Weall. When Weall was seven years old she had meningitis and spent nine weeks in the hospital. But the effects of the illness meant that she had her arms and legs amputated below her knees and elbows. She doesn’t let her amputations get in the way of enjoying the things she loves to do. Weall has a Instagram account with 319 thousand followers and on her account she posts videos of her doing different makeup looks. She also has a YouTube channel with 114 thousands subscribers.

On her channel, she posts regular YouTube videos could would find on anyones account like challenge videos, makeup and fashion videos. But she also has many videos where she talks about being an amputee and has videos titled “What not to say to an Amputee,” “10 extra things I have to consider being an Amputee,” “How I do my eyebrows with no hands,” and many more videos showing how she handles situations without her arms and legs.

All of these things are a step forward to awareness in the amputee community and this should be talked about more considering that this could happen to anyone at anytime.