In the summer of 2006, 17-year-old Christoffer Lindhe lost both his legs and his left arm in a railway accident. However, this was not the end, but the start of something new. Something quite astonishing.
He woke up ten days after the accident, but it took a month before Christoffer gradually came to realize what had happened and how it would affect his life. This was naturally a really challenging period for a well-trained 17-year-old young man who had managed everything and was now told that he could not even move.
However, when lying in his hospital bed, he watched a TV documentary about Cameron Clapp, who had been in an identical accident but was now able to walk, drive a car and ski. This became a turning point for Christoffer who told himself, if he can, then I can. One year after the accident, he set himself the target of qualifying for the Paralympics in Beijing in 2008. He succeeded. Two years after the accident, Christoffer was standing on the starting blocks and, what is more, he also managed to beat the Swedish record!
Up to that point, Christoffer had been using socket prostheses for his legs and left arm, but he experienced significant problems with the prostheses:
“I had great many problems with my socket prostheses. I only have ten cm left of my left stump, so the prosthesis fell off all the time. My prosthetist and I tried every possible solution, but nothing worked. It was quite dangerous; all of a sudden, the leg could fall off at any time. So I didn’t really have any opportunity to learn how to walk again.”
Christoffer also experienced problems with pain, sweating and chafing.
“During the summer, it all became too much, so I couldn’t use the prostheses.”
After Beijing, however, the time had finally come to install the OPRA™️ Implant System for one of his legs and his left arm. The surgery was carried out by Dr. Rickard Brånemark at Sahlgrenska Hospital in Gothenburg. This changed his life once again and Christoffer was able to start walking again.
“Without osseointegration, I wouldn’t have been able to walk. The leg feels natural and more like a normal leg, a part of my body.”
The new osseointegrated arm prosthesis has also enabled Christoffer to continue to live an active life.
PULLING THROUGH – AND BEOYND
After qualifying for his second Paralympics in London in 2012, Christoffer is now working on new ventures and goals. In 2013, he founded his own company, Lindhe Xtend, which develops advanced prostheses and accessories with the aim of helping amputees to have an opportunity to live with high quality of life.
The products have been launched in Scandinavia and Christoffer is now aiming for the US market. Please refer to lindheextend.com for more information.
“My arm feels like a normal arm. I have been able to take part in many different activities, such as canoeing, rowing and riding a quad bike. Things I couldn’t do with a socket prosthesis.”