Wheelchair athlete given “new lease of life” after amputation

Release Date: 02/05/2018

Wheelchair athlete given “new lease of life” after amputation

An athlete who had his leg amputated five years ago says it has given him a “fresh perspective on life” as he prepares to embark on his next sporting challenge.

A member of the Welsh national wheelchair rugby team and one of the world’s first wheelchair boxers, Phil Bousfield lives a busy and active lifestyle, with his latest goal being to take part in a 70-mile fundraising bike ride this spring.

But Mr Bousfield says all of his sporting successes wouldn’t have been possible without the care he received and the staff at The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital (RJAH) – in particular Mr Nilesh Makwana, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, and his team.

Mr Bousfield, from Mold, had spent most of his life suffering with the crippling pain of a club foot and since he was an infant, had numerous operations in a bid to put a stop to his agony.

But in 2013, after deliberating long and hard, Mr Bousfield and Mr Makwana, between them, decided an amputation might be his best option to improve his quality of life.

Father-of-two Mr Bousfield, 43, admits it was the “hardest – but best – decision he’s ever made”.

He said: “Since my amputation my life has completely changed. Five years ago I didn’t play any sports, simply because I was in too much pain, I never imagined I could be as successful as I have been.

“The amputation gave me a new lease of life, and for that I have Mr Makwana, his team and RJAH to thank.”

After his operation he joined the North Wales Crusader wheelchair rugby club and was selected to play for the Wales national team, after just five months of playing.

As well as boxing and rugby, Mr Bousfield also practices jujitsu, coaches and is currently preparing to take part in a charity bike ride from Chester to Llandudno, in aid of the Limbless Association.

In order to achieve that, he has played a part in designing a new prosthetic leg so that he is able to ride a bike for the long distance of the ride.

Mr Bousfield, who works for Options Autism supporting children, young people and adults who require specialist support, said his amputation has allowed him to live his life to the fullest.

“All of us only get one life, which is why I’m passionate about showing people that having a disability doesn’t stop you from achieving anything you want. People with disabilities can still live an active and fulfilled lifestyle,” he said.

A day shy of his five-year amputation anniversary Mr Bousfield visited RJAH to have a catch-up with Mr Makwana, as well as his Secretary Georgi Norris, who has liaised with him about his hospital appointments and surgery for more than 20 years.

Mr Makwana said: “It was an absolute pleasure to catch up with Phil and really wonderful to see the progress he’s been making. He’s an inspiration to many, having achieved so much but also because of his positive attitude.

“Phil is a perfect example for patients that there is life after amputation and that patients go onto live a relatively pain-free, active and enjoyable life.”

Mr Bousfield added: “Everything I’ve achieved I owe to Mr Makwana and his wonderful team for everything they’ve done for me, so for that I’d like to publicly thank them, as well as thank everyone at RJAH.

“Working in the NHS is a real team effort, no matter what your role is, you’re part of the wider picture that contributes to patient care in some way.

“I’d also like to thank my wonderful wife Della and our girls Ellie and Fay for their constant love and support, I couldn’t do what I do without that.”

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