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|Hanger patient and below-knee amputee Steve Mitchell dancing his way to victory and inspiring others along the way|
Clearwater, Fla., April 11, 2012 – In 1990 when Steve Mitchell was just 28-years-old, he was out on a boat with friends when something went terribly wrong. A passenger on the boat Mitchell was driving started to fall overboard, so Mitchell grabbed for him, but they both landed in the water. The boat propeller caught Mitchell’s right leg, causing severe damage and necessitating an amputation below-the-knee. Mitchell was in the hospital for two-and-a-half weeks, and then home recovering for another two weeks. Always active, Mitchell was determined to not let the accident deter him from participating in the activities he enjoyed. Six months after receiving his first prosthetic leg, he was back in the gym, and he eventually got back to swimming, golfing, and horseback riding. Today, Mitchell continues to thrive with custom-designed prosthetic technology made by his Clearwater, Florida-based Hanger Clinic prosthetist Robert Dixon, so much so that this summer Mitchell took on a new challenge and started participating in competitive ballroom dancing.
After taking his oldest daughter to dance lessons and a little nudging from his wife, Mitchell began taking lessons himself. He and his wife use the lessons as a source of stress release. A couple of months after starting the lessons, Mitchell competed in his first dance competition, the Tampa Bay Classic, and took home the “Newcomer Award”. Mitchell strives to be an example to others with disabilities by showing with enough determination and drive, you can do anything you set your mind to. He encourages others to pursue their dreams and to not be defined by their disability.
Mitchell recently shared his inspirational story with several of his local media outlets. Following is a resulting news story from the Clearwater Beacon: http://www.tbnweekly.com/pubs/clearwater_beacon/content_articles/012512_clw-04.txt.
About Hanger: Founded in 1861 by the first amputee of the Civil War, Hanger Clinic, a business unit of Hanger Orthopedic Group, Inc. (NYSE: HGR), owns and operates 54 patient care clinics in Florida and 700+ nationwide. The certified clinicians of Hanger provide patients with the latest in orthotic and prosthetic solutions, including microprocessor devices for those with limb loss and neuromuscular technologies for those with paralysis due to stroke, MS and other debilitating conditions. After a six-month celebration of its 150th anniversary, on February 1, 2012 Hanger unveiled a comprehensive new brand identity to position the company for the future. Subject to shareholder approval at the Company’s annual shareholder meeting in May 2012, the new brand includes renaming the parent company from Hanger Orthopedic Group, Inc. to “Hanger, Inc.”, and referring to the patient care business as “Hanger Clinic” (formerly Hanger Prosthetics and Orthotics). For more information on Hanger and the new brand, visit www.hanger.com.
Jennifer Bittner, Hanger Orthopedic Group
Krisita Burket, Hanger Orthopedic Group