Archie Celebrates New Found Freedom With Ottobock Orthoses

“I have new found freedom now, and I cannot wait to explore more,”

A student who almost lost his life to septicaemia is now enjoying a more mobile, confident and body-positive life thanks to orthoses specially made for him by Ottobock.

Archie Veale, 20, from Colby on the Isle of Man, spent five months in Alder Hey’s children’s hospital in Liverpool in 2014, after what began as a back ache ended in multiple organ failure through septicaemia, followed by compartment syndrome in his legs.

His devastating illnesses left him with damage to his muscles and nerves, and after 17 months of using a wheelchair and intensive physiotherapy, Archie progressed to walking with crutches, with the aid of ankle orthoses to help him move more naturally.

He was also successful at school, passing his A-Levels and winning a place at the University of Salford to study prosthetics and orthotics — a subject he chose as a direct result of his illness as he wished to help others with similar needs to him.

After Ottobock’s orthotics representatives gave a talk at the university, Archie’s desire to learn more about the products and the industry led to him getting a custom carbon fibre ankle foot orthosis (AFO) for his right leg, and a WalkOn Reaction orthosis for his left.

Since receiving his orthoses, Archie’s confidence has soared, as he can walk more freely and for longer without his crutches when he’s out and about. He stands taller, has changed his posture and no longer has to rely on something to lean on when he stops.

He said: “In my previous orthoses, or when I wasn’t wearing them, I walked from my hips with my knees bent and I would always feel very aware I looked different to other people. But now I have my new orthoses I feel like if I was wearing jeans over them no one would know. I would just be a regular young guy.

“But the orthoses are so discreet, and sleek and lightweight. I’m actually pretty proud of them. I walked from my car to my physio without crutches and in my shorts and I didn’t care. I would have hidden them in the past but I feel so much more confident.”

With his new orthoses, Archie — who in his spare time is a coach at his local wheelchair basketball club, Wooden Spoon Wheelchair Sports Club — has now returned to the gym, which he visited regularly before his illness and he hopes eventually, he will be able to run again.

“I have new found freedom now, and I cannot wait to explore more,” he added.

Gemma Cassidy, Archie’s orthotist, said: “When Archie tried his new orthoses on the difference was noticeable immediately. He’s an extremely motivated young man and I have no doubt he’ll be using his new AFO’s to maximum effect.”

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