Kid is missing part of his arm Kid is missing part of his arm

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Thread: Kid is missing part of his arm

  1. #1
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    Default Kid is missing part of his arm

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    High school PE teacher here. I just had a kid join my class who is missing most of his left arm from just below the elbow. He has probably 2-3" of the upper wrist left. He does not have a prosthetic but has a nylon strap that he can kind of rig up to sort of hold a barbell and DBs with the stump.

    He is able to squat. He can just barely get the stump over the barbell and we have a kid spotting him on each side when he squats in case the stump rolls off the barbell. I'm not really concerned about him getting injured on squats because our racks have safeties but I don't want a loaded barbell to fall that much of a distance and possibly get damaged.

    He is able to bench press with a barbell. He is able to balance the barbell on the edge of the stump. The bar is not level but he seems to make it work. What we did with the safeties was move them up high enough that they are actually about a 1/2" above his chest. My thinking is that if something catastrophic happens and the bar rolls off the stump, it will stop on the safeties before hitting his chest. So, he's not getting as full of a ROM as he could but I feel that is an acceptable trade-off for the sake of safety. For our other kids, we have the safeties set just below the chest so the barbell does not touch the safeties but will stay off the their neck and face in an emergency situation.

    Any other adjustments we can make? We have tried to have him do cleans and deadlifts with the strap but it pretty clunky. Are there any alternatives for a kid like this?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    I can't visualize this injury. Picture?

  3. #3
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    Similar to this except the left arm:

    https://www.armdynamics.com/hs-fs/hu...e=_DSC0347.jpg

  4. #4
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    All I can say is if we my high school PE teacher had run in to difficulties like this, the child would have been consigned to a lifetime of low risk, totally ineffective substitute exercises. I'm very impressed you're making this effort to train him properly.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by 19delta View Post
    Similar to this except the left arm:

    https://www.armdynamics.com/hs-fs/hu...e=_DSC0347.jpg
    He does not have any of his wrist left. I think having him bench with this much asymmetry is going to be a problem for his thoracic spine eventually. I would not have him clean, but if he can deadlift with a strap and stay symmetrical through the pull, that would be good.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Rippetoe View Post
    He does not have any of his wrist left. I think having him bench with this much asymmetry is going to be a problem for his thoracic spine eventually. I would not have him clean, but if he can deadlift with a strap and stay symmetrical through the pull, that would be good.
    Yes. I was considering his entire forearm as the wrist but your description is far more correct. He has a few inches of the arm below the elbow left but the wrist and hand are gone.

    Any suggestions for horizontal pressing? We experimented the other day with setting bumper weights on the floor and using them to prop up the stump. He can get pretty level doing that. We can elevate his feet to increase the load. Any other ideas?

    How about box jumps instead of cleans? Any other alternatives?

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    Impressive efforts by teacher and student.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 19delta View Post
    Any suggestions for horizontal pressing? We experimented the other day with setting bumper weights on the floor and using them to prop up the stump. He can get pretty level doing that. We can elevate his feet to increase the load.
    Good idea. Then figure out a way to incrementally load this pushup.

  9. #9
    J.D. Shipley's Avatar
    J.D. Shipley is offline Owner, Starting Strength Houston
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    Quote Originally Posted by 19delta View Post
    How about box jumps instead of cleans? Any other alternatives?
    How athletic is the kid? If he shows decent coordination, how about one-handed snatches? They would be light enough to minimize the risk of injury, he could maintain some level of symmetry not possible with cleans and he could still practice the expression of his newly acquired strength.

  10. #10
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    See if you can get in touch with John Janacek, SSC. He trained a kid in Longview, TX, a few years back with what sounds like the same situation. The kid was willing and able, and worked his tail off. It seems like he did a lot of the lifts with slight variations and was very successful. John is the owner of Janacek Strength and Conditioning in Bedford, TX. Here’s the link to his website HOME | janecekstrength.

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