Before he got his prosthesis, nine-year-old Greg Upton held his hockey stick by pressing it against his chest.Greg was born with a partial hand amputation. His left hand is missing an index finger and middle finger and he has just the first joints of his ring finger and baby finger.His father, Johnathan, says they didn’t know that Greg had a small hand before he was born because it didn’t show up on the ultrasound. When they found out, they joined the War Amps Child Amputee (CHAMP) Program, a program geared toward providing services to child amputees and their families.
Young Greg Upton can finally play some pickup hockey thanks to a new prosthetic from the War Amps Child Amputee Program.
Julie Oliver /
This past fall, Greg and his parents attended a CHAMP seminar and that’s when Greg first expressed interest in getting recreational prosthesis.“Greg, I think, is one of those kids who doesn’t want to let anything stop him and he wants to be a part of what’s going on around him just as much as everyone else,” Johnathan says.“He loves playing street hockey, and being a right-hand shot he’s not able to hold a hockey stick in the usual way.”Greg’s hockey prosthesis fits over his hand and it’s got a hook shaped claw that’s been shaped out of silicone very specifically so it fits the shaft of his hockey stick. It snaps into place, and then he’s able to hold his hockey stick on the shaft.
Greg Upton’s grip-shaped prosthetic allows him to work on his slap shot.
Julie Oliver /
The prosthesis allows Greg to be able to take shots and improve his accuracy in passing because he’s able to hold it in ways he couldn’t before, Johnathan says.“When you see him able to do this and see the frustration melt away because of the prosthesis it’s just something that is difficult to put into words,” he says.The learning experience with the CHAMP program has helped his son, and family gain a better knowledge of obstacles a child amputee might face, whether it be an inability to participate in activities, sports, tasks that are not easily performed or bullying.“Probably the biggest issue is just people who don’t know about it and will raise a question as if there’s something wrong,” Johnathan says. “For example, what happened to your hand? What’s wrong with your hand?”Letting other people know it’s OK, and not something that’s wrong is the way they deal with such comments. “Having a willingness to explain that, ‘No, this is the way it is shaped, it’s the way I was born, I can still do things with it,’ I think puts people at ease.“We weren’t worried. You sort of you take a day at a time and you take life a year at a time and you just sort of deal with life as it comes,” he says, adding he’s very proud of his son’s growth since getting prosthesis.“Magical would be a good word for it. To see barriers be overcome because he’s able to hold a hockey stick in a way that he’s never been able to before … he’s just he’s very grateful.”ALSO IN THE NEWSLeBreton Flats redevelopment talks have failed; Melnyk says ‘alternative’ arena locations could be exploredPolice find meth smuggled into Canada through new Ford cars built in MexicoWhy anti-vaxxers aren’t just killing their own kids — they’re putting others in danger, too