A snowboarder is working towards his dream of competing in the Paralympic Games thanks to a Burton clinic which makes state-of-the-art prosthetic limbs.

Andy Macleod was just when he had to have his right leg amputated during his first year of university after being hit by a speeding car.

Andy, now aged 25, had only just started studying Adventure Tourism Management at university in the Scottish Highlands when the accident happened.

The crash also left him with a traumatic brain injury that affected his concentration, memory and attention span.

Andy taking his first steps after the accident
Andy taking his first steps after the accident

He said: "I don't remember anything about the accident, the whole day or two weeks after. When I first went to university, everyone was a snowboarder or a skier, and I was so excited to get involved.

"I think it helps in a way but there are times when I think I should be able to remember more of what I've been through."

After spending more than a month in hospital, Andy returned home where he received rehabilitation for his brain injury while learning to walk on a prosthetic leg for six months.

A year on from the accident, in January 2012, Andy returned to university in an attempt to get his life back on track. He also had high hopes of getting back to his one true passion – snowboarding.

But he said the prosthetic leg he was originally given after the accident was not suited to his needs or what he wanted in order to pursue his sporting dreams.

Andy's first day back on his bike
Andy's first day back on his bike

While being supported by a legal team from claims company Waterman Claims and Care, Andy, from Stornoway, Scotland, met with a case manager who advised he visit Burton-based Dorset Orthopaedics for a consultation.

He met with branch manager Moose Baxter to learn more about the state-of-the-art prosthetic legs available at the clinic in Ashby Road.

The clinic specialises in prosthetic, orthotic, silicone and rehabilitation services, including one-to-one prosthetic care, where it works with individuals to build limbs tailored just for them.

Andy collecting his new prosthetic leg at Dorset Orthopeadic
Andy collecting his new prosthetic leg at Dorset Orthopeadic

Andy said: "I liked the general feeling of Dorset Orthopeadic and was impressed by the welcoming atmosphere. They cared about me as an individual and never lost sight of my hopes for a positive outcome.

He continued: "My new leg suits my needs more. I finally have the set up that I always wanted. The first place I went to went against what I wanted from the leg.

Andy's new state-of-the-art prosthetic leg, called the Ottobock ProCarve, was specifically made to support his snowboarding ambitions.

The ProCarve is equipped with a powerful pneumatic spring and has a large air-filled cylinder at the ankle joint which acts as a shock absorber , and is perfect for tough sports like snowboarding.

It special design increases the rider's comfort and also contributes to a better body position whilst boarding, said Andy. The air pressure inside the cylinder can be tailored to suit the individual's riding style and type of terrain, he said.

Speaking about his old prosthetic leg, which has now been replaced by the new ProCarve one, Andy said: "In the end, I had to make do with what I had simply for convenience, even though it worked to a much lower level than the prosthesis I have now."

Despite his injuries, Andy was keen to get back into the active lifestyle he enjoyed before his accident, including off-road cycling and hiking. He even managed to climb Scottish mountain Ben Nevis wearing his new prosthetic foot, which he says is perfect.

Climing Ben Nevis
Climing Ben Nevis

Along with his day-to-day limb, Dorset Orthopeadic made Andy a high-performing ski and snowboard prosthetic leg to support his snowing ambitions.

Moose Baxter, Burton branch manager at Doreset Orthopeadic, said: "It's been really great working with Andy over the last couple of years.

"Here at Dorset Orthopaedic we really enjoy providing our clients with the very best solutions for them; from high performing sports equipment to prostheses that help with everyday independence and mobility.

"Our motto is "strive for better" and Andy epitomises that in his determination and dedication to snowboarding. We're really excited to see Andy's amazing career continue and flourish."

Not only returning to winter sports, Andy also took on a year's work programme with Disability Snowsport UK after his return to university, where he was introduced to the GB Para Snowsport team.

Following an evaluation, the plucky sports enthusiast was successful in qualifying for the home nations' academy for Snowboard Cross Racing.

Andy back to snowboarding in France
Andy back to snowboarding in France

Because the current Paralympic team are busy preparing for the PyeongChang games in March 2018, Andy is now training in Austria with non-paralympic snowboarders. The Paralympics follows on from the main Winter Olympics in South Korea, which are taking place at the moment.

His training sees him completing against able-bodied athletes as well as para-athletes.

He said: "When I realise that I am competing at this level against able bodied athletes, I realise that I am absolutely on the right track."

A dream come true, Andy hopes that his determined attitude and talent for snowboarding will take him to the ultimate level for an athlete in this sport: the winter Paralympics, with the 2022 games in Beijing firmly in his sights.

What is Snowboard Cross Racing?

If Andy makes it to the Paralympics Games in 2022, he wants to compete in the Snowboard Cross Racing.

There are two types of the race: head-to-head and time trial.


During qualification, each athlete completes three runs down the course with their best run determining the final order based on ascending time. There is only one rider on the course at a time during qualification.

Finals consist of 16 men and eight women, with two competitors per heat or such other numbers as determined by the jury.

The ideal snowboard-cross may allow the construction of any features excluding: gap jumps, corner jumps, spines and double spines, cutting banks, giant slalom turns and negative banks.

Time trial

Each athlete competes three runs down the course with their best run determining the final order based on ascending time.

There is only one rider on the course at a time. As with head-to-head, the event takes place on a man-made course constructed from a variety of terrain features like bank turns. The course design is also the same as head-to-head.