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Living a full life after amputation

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Albany/HV: Living a full life after amputation
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Of the more than 100 injured in Monday's bombings, we know that some of them have lost limbs. Some may think it will be impossible to go on living a normal life, but experts say that's not the case. In honor of National Amputee Awareness Month, our Megan Cruz has this story.

SCHENECTADY, N.Y. -- "In the beginning, it's going to be very, very scary," said Kyle Stark, an amputee. He's been without his feet for a little more than two years. Stark opted to have them removed after a life-long battle with spina bifida, which left his lower legs deformed since he was a teen.

"It was terrible," said Stark. "The answer was to decrease what I was doing - don't walk as much, get a job sitting. That wasn't something I was interested in doing."

While the circumstances surrounding Stark's amputations were nowhere near how traumatic the victims of the Boston bombings lost their limbs, he says the fear of the future is the same, he reassures them this: "You can get back to a full activity that you want," he said.

Stark's prosthetist Bill Sampson explains.

"We have a lot of new technology that if they want to go hiking, if they want to run a marathon, they would have the means to do that," said Sampson. He's the president of Sampson's Prosthetic and Orthotic Laboratory.

Recent prosthetic breakthroughs are promising amputees like those injured in Boston a more independent life than ever before with advancements like the bionic arm.

Also, with the use of what's called targeted muscle reinnervation surgery. Doctors take the working nerves from the remaining part of the limb and then attach them to sensors on the prosthetic.

"And that will control either the elbow or the prosthetic hand," said Sampson.

Stark says while it may seem bleak for victims now, their future can be as bright as his.

"A member of the Schenectady County Auxiliary Police, and Fire Police for my fire district in Rotterdam. I can run around with the kids, go out and do anything I want with these," he said.

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