By Bailey Wood –
Early one August morning a LHS Social Studies teacher and track coach Bob White went onto our track and did something he hadn’t done in almost eight years. He jogged for the first time since his amputation.
White was injured in a car accident on December 23, 2007 when a drunk driver crashed into the back of White’s trailer while he was standing between it and his vehicle on the side of I-80 between Lincoln and Omaha. White’s leg was crushed and had to be amputated below his left knee. Imagine doing something you hadn’t done in eight years.
Think of the fear that would be pulsing through your veins. Thoughts of “can I still do this?” While White still coaches track he isn’t able to jog with the runners anymore, and he can only stand on the sidelines, but if he were able to get a running blade he would be able to run along with his team once again.
White stretched and did warm-ups, along with 12 others who wore prosthetic legs due to varying circumstances, on the Harold Scott Track at Lincoln High on August 19 as part of a clinic to showcase a new running blade created by Ottobock. The warm-ups and stretches were led by paralympian Lacey Henderson, and the clinic was sponsored by Hangers Clinic, Madonna Rehabilitation, and Ottobock. One man through the stretching and warm-ups on the prosthetic leg looked as if he would be quite successful if he began to jog only to have fear grip him and not allow him to run.
White pushed through his fear though and began to jog with the new prosthesis. He was quite successful in his jog for about 90 minutes until he stopped to turn when someone called his name and his goal of not falling crashed just like he had. But, that did not stop him from getting back up. Even though he was quite upset, he didn’t just quit. He loved being able to move at more than a walking pace with ease, even though he was very sore for the next week. He described the experience of being on the running blade as if he were “walking on pillows” because it was so much lighter than his normal prosthesis.
No matter how wonderful his “pillow” was, the cost of the blade, approximately $8,000, could cause him to not be able to run still if his insurance doesn’t cover it. Though White is no longer a student, there is something every student can strive to achieve either from being in his class or being more like him. He pushes his students to achieve the best that they can. Some might find that he pushes too hard when really he is pushing for success to help us reach our potential. He faces his fears head on.
“You are the only one who controls your fear and what you do in life,” White said. There is something that we all can take away though, is facing our fears. “If we face and conquer all of our fears then what is there stopping us from doing the best we can do?” Whether our fear is how much we are going to have to commit and train for a game or studying for a test if we can face it we can achieve it.