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Normal is Good

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In 1993 Payam Saadat lost half his left arm in a tragic accident. On that fateful day he lost many things: his best friend died, his left arm was severed below the elbow and he would have to fight to regain the feeling of being normal.

“An amputee’s primary emotion is helplessness. You have lost the ability to do things that you never thought about before, such as tying a shoelace,” Saadat explains. “Despite the permanent loss you have suffered, you are expected to function normally.”

There is a long process of re-learning and teaching yourself to accomplish the simplest tasks. It requires a strong mindset and a firm determination to overcome the new challenges that you will face.

“Being a competitive person by nature really helps in this instance, only here you are competing against yourself. But it is only by pushing through the mental and physical barriers that your amputation imposes, that you will become a complete, productive individual again,” he says.

One element that Saadat found particularly useful for this process was physical exercise. A Washington State University football player before the accident, Saadat suddenly found that his regular workouts were hard to accomplish with only one hand.

“Physical exercise is a form of therapy. Not only does it enable you to achieve the optimum positioning of your body’s structure through the development of your muscles, but you also keep your body functioning well and add to your self esteem.”

However, entering a regular gym and being unable to work out like everyone else is counterproductive. Saadat is clear that if you already stand out from the crowd because of your amputation, having to work out in a special area of the gym, or being unable to use all the equipment, only makes you feel more incapable and draws more unwanted attention.

“The terminal devices from Maxgrip were perfect as they allowed me to step into a gym and do a regular workout with regular exercise equipment. I don’t need any assistance, I fit right in with everyone else and I can keep my body in perfect shape,” Saadat explains.

Maxgrip Systems produces both barbell and dumbbell prosthetics made from aircraft grade alloy that only weigh around 1.5 pounds. These provide a safe, secure grip on exercise equipment and allow below the elbow amputees to enjoy a normal workout.

“The Maxgrip attachments let me exercise both halves of my body equally and to achieve the feeling of a great workout. Using these terminal devices lets me feel like I have got my body back to normal. And if you are an amputee you know that normal is good,” Saadat concludes.

A Life Changed


A Life Changed

Livio Pelaez was just five when he was visiting his uncle’s ranch in Las Vegas. Childhood curiosity and a desire to explore led him to an industrial meat grinder. Small fingers and big industrial blades led to a terrible accident and Pelaez’s mother had to disassemble the machine to free him. When the dust settled, Pelaez lost his right hand.

“I was right handed so therapy took a long time for me,” Pelaez explains. “I spent around eight years learning to adjust to my missing hand. That sounds like a long time but children often adapt faster to such situations, while adults continue to feel the ‘ghost’ of the missing limb.”

A sports fan, Pelaez, who is today in his early 40s, found that terminal devices were still very basic.

“I used a claw to play baseball and I had to invent my own workout routines. It was hard because you simply couldn’t do what others took for granted. It was then I met Tom Vorhees, one of the founders of Maxgrip Systems, and my life changed.”

Pelaez was watching the soccer World Cup in a bar when Vorhees approached him with a prototype he had been working on that would help a below-the-elbow amputee exercise using regular gym equipment.

“I talked with Tom for a while and did some research on Maxgrip Systems. I started testing their prototypes and found it changed my life completely. I could use new workout techniques, which changed my physique and let me get into the best shape I’ve ever been in. The prosthetics are also rugged and strong, and can handle barbell lifts of up to 500 pounds and dumbbell lifts of up to 150 pounds,” Pelaez said.

The Maxgrip Systems terminal devices enable below-the-elbow amputees to work their muscles as if they have two fully functioning limbs. Regular, balanced workouts prevent spinal and joint issues that can arise and also keep bones under tension to foster strength and avoid brittleness.

“The terminal devices from Maxgrip Systems have helped me to foster a positive attitude and have given me the confidence to try new things. My life has changed tremendously as a result of that chance meeting with Tom and I would love to see other amputees discover the benefits of using these prosthetics.”