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Nothing Holding Him Back

Ken electric one wheelKen K. is a typical 21-year-old man who loves to stay active and spend time outside longboarding, skateboarding, and hiking with his camera in tow to practice his photography.

In 2021, Ken was looking to make some money to attend college, and took a warehouse job.

One day at the warehouse, his life changed. His right ankle was pinned by an electric vehicle against a steel barrier. He was flown to Froedtert Hospital in Wauwatosa where he woke up the next morning.

“My foot was still intact and I was relieved because I could continue to do the things I loved doing,” he said.

Then the head surgeon at Froedtert delivered the news. Ken had two choices: he could keep his ankle, have it fused, and live in a wheelchair for the rest of his life, or he could undergo an amputation of his leg below the knee and walk in a matter of months. He consented to an amputation.

“God stopped me,” Ken said. “I feel like He definitely sent me a message with my leg loss and what I needed to do. I needed to listen to Him. I try to take things one day at a time, instead of trying to make these grand plans.”

His faith, family, and friends were with him after his accident. Pastors came to visit in the hospital and his parents were constantly present—day and night. Even his brother and his brother’s friends helped make his house accessible for him.

During his rehabilitation, Ken went through months of occupational and physical therapy to strengthen his body. He also met Brian Kelsey of Kelsey Prosthetics through friends. “I think I was a fun case for him,” Ken said with a laugh. “During the initial phases of building a prosthesis for me, I was doing a bunch of different activities and exercises, which broke a couple of test sockets. But Brian was able to find the perfect fit.”

Ken is a RBKA – a right-below-the-knee amputee. He wears a Fillauer AllPro prosthetic foot, and an Ottobock Harmony P4 vacuum socket, which establishes a firm connection between his prosthetic foot and residual limb. The foot and socket are designed for active adults who wish to engage in more physical activity than walking.

Just five months from the date of his injury, with the help of his physical therapists, doctors, and Brian Kelsey, Ken was longboarding and skateboarding, the activities he had always enjoyed.

“A few things have been challenging, but many things have gone right. I am grateful for Brian’s patience, commitment, and his technical skills. He makes me live freely with a prosthesis; I feel like nothing is holding me back: and he helps me do everything I can.”
Ken is now a full-time student studying digital media technology at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College.

Although “still figuring out who I am,” Ken has support from others with life-changing injuries. Knowing others who are like him and in similar situations has helped him come to terms with his injury.

The fact that he can give encouragement to others is “a shock to most people,” he admits.

“Enjoy the bad days,” he said. “There are fewer bad days than good days. Remember that whatever you’re going through right now, when you’re in the most pain and deepest struggle, that if you can get through this, everything else will get easier.”







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