Why We Do This…

In the U.S., more than 1,500 soldiers have suffered battle-related limb loss while serving in Operation New Dawn, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.

The good news is that those numbers are decreasing, and in general, soldiers are surviving in greater numbers than previous wars.

But they also have more severe orthopedic injuries, most coming from high-velocity weapons and improvised explosive devices, or IEDs. One study found that 80 percent of those who survive blast injuries are eventually discharged from the military. Only about 17 percent of soldiers with amputations return to active duty – still a great improvement from about 2 percent in the 1980s.

Given that, the BADER Consortium aims to help today’s wounded soldiers not only recover from their limb injuries but live a life as full as possible.

That means making sure injured and recovering warriors are not just getting around with their prostheses, but discovering their optimal level of function – whether that’s returning to active duty, running or picking up their children.

Mobility is crucial for everyone, but there are important health considerations for those with limb loss. Amputations are associated with obesity, cardiovascular disease, osteoarthritis, back pain and phantom limb pain. A 2013 report by the Center for Public Integrity found that post-9/11 veterans in 2012 cost the Veterans Administration $2.8 billion of its $50.9 billion health budget for all of its annual costs.

The gap between traditional patient outcomes and optimal functional outcomes is wide. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Industry and academia can pivot to create meaningful advances – given some critical assistance in the transition from technological development to patient care.

This is where BADER Consortium can bridge the gap, serving as a beacon for translational and clinical research focused on optimal outcomes for people with limb loss and limb difference.

The result is a culture of research across the consortium with the goal of not just getting the amputee “better” but as “best” as possible. In doing so, an optimal outcome becomes the new normal.