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Deondre Jones was just a toddler when he was visited by the late Al Muilenburg, founder of Muilenburg Prosthetics, at Texas Children’s Hospital in the fall of 2003. Deondre was recovering from a bilateral above-knee amputation caused by meningococcemia – a bacterial infection of the blood.
“Mr. Muilenburg reached out to us then to let us know they were there for us when he was ready for his prostheses,” Deondre’s mother, Mary Jones, said. “Mr. Muilenburg made Deondre’s first prostheses in 2004, and laminated it with Deondre’s favorite toy character, Bob the Builder.”
Still a patient of MPI, Deondre, 21, is currently seen by Ted Muilenburg, CP.
For many years, Deondre relied on stubbies for mobility. “I got used to the security of stubbies because there were no knee joints, so I didn’t have to worry about falling. I was fitted with a mechanical knee, but I just didn’t like it.
Ted thought Deondre would be a good candidate for the C-Leg, which offers, among other benefits, a high degree of stability by actively controlling and adjusting swing flexion resistance while the knee is in motion. This ensures that the proper amount of resistance is in place to enable recovery in the event of a stumble. A control feature also makes walking backwards safely possible.
Ted fit Deondre in October 2020 and it was met with success. “I’ve been wearing them every day since. I’m not afraid of falling anymore and I’m focusing on being more fit,” Deondre said.
“He’s a smart young man,” Ted said. “His mom is extremely proud of him and I’m proud of him, too.
Deondre is a sophomore at Texas Southern University, majoring in kinesiology and sports and fitness management. “This is now my passion,” he said. His long-term goal is to work in adaptive physical education.
While he was growing up, Deondre thought music would be his career. He learned to play base drums and cymbals in the third grade and eventually became a member of the Phunk Machine marching band, well-known in the drumline community.
His mother recounted that when Deondre was younger, he had to do a school report of people he admired. “One was his band teacher and the other was Mr. Muilenburg because Mr. Muilenburg helped people who needed prosthetics.”
“Band was a thing in high school and I enjoyed it,” Deondre said. “But as I was watching more and more sports, including the Olympics and other events, I realized that was my interest.
However, music is not totally out of the picture. Deondre recently purchased a piano, which he enjoys playing.
“Deondre’s come a long way,” Mrs. Jones said. “They said he would be in a wheelchair the rest of his life and he didn’t do that; they said he would be on crutches, and he didn’t do that. Instead, he chose to walk. He is very strong minded and never complained.
“People come to me and say he is such an inspiration. I’m so proud of him, very proud of him.”
April is Limb Loss Awareness Month, a time to celebrate those impacted by limb loss and limb difference. Initiated by the Amputee Coalition in 2010, it was not only designed to raise awareness about limb loss but also limb loss prevention.
People with the greatest risk are those with diabetes or vascular impairment, such as peripheral arterial disease. Cancer is another cause, but so is trauma from lawnmower and farming accidents to motorcycle and car crashes.
According to the Amputee Coalition:
The goals of Limb Loss Awareness Month are to heighten public awareness about limb loss and increase people’s understanding of prevention-especially those most at risk. The Amputee Coalition also works to ensure that amputees do not have to go through this journey alone.
The Amputee Coalition also offers a vast library of resources at its National Limb Loss Resource Center. The Center offers informational materials, educational webinars, links to support groups, guides for pain management, mental health and wellness, and information and referral specialists.
While COVID-19 has limited what we can do for in-person events, we encourage amputees to share their limb loss stories with others by using social media outlets.
At Muilenburg Prosthetics, our mission is to treat those with limb loss with the highest degree of care and technology. We take pride in our patients who regain their mobility and do not let their limb differences keep them from living their life to the fullest.
Do you have a question about prosthetic care or want to schedule a free evaluation? We are happy to be of service.