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Model Athlete Racks ‘Em Up at Nine-Ball

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Model Athlete Racks ‘Em Up at Nine-Ball

Veteran Jack Wiseman

When Jack Wiseman lost his left arm at the age of 18 from gunshot wounds in Vietnam, that didn’t stop him from doing everything he wanted to do in life.  A true athlete and Army Veteran from Lutz, Fla., who served in the 101st Airborne and 82nd Airborne Division, Wiseman has a number of prosthetic devices to assist him in each of the sports he participates in.

He received his newest device, a custom prosthetic pool arm built by the VA, to improve his nine-ball game that he’s been playing with one arm his whole life.  The adaptive arm resembles a pool cue from just above the elbow area and has a fiberglass circle that holds the actual pool cue.

He said he hasn’t worn a prosthetic device in 45 years but now has unique adaptive devices to assist him while kayaking, weightlifting and plank. Plank is best described by doing pushups while on your elbows. He’s an avid golfer who swings freehand and a fisherman who is participating in the National Veterans Golden Age Games for the first time.

He retired two years ago as clinical director from an adult substance abuse and mental health facility in Utah and moved to the Tampa area where his sister lives.

A MOVE! participant, one of VA’s weight management programs at the James A. Haley Tampa VA medical center, Wiseman lost 47 pounds.

Everything people said he couldn’t do, Wiseman told them, “bite me and I’d go and do it.”  He’s worked construction, run water and sewer lines, unloaded semi-trucks; all with one arm.

Jennifer Day, Adaptive Sports Coordinator at the James A. Haley Tampa VA medical center and National Official at the Games, said “Wiseman is one of the most dedicated competitors. He works closely with the prosthetics and amputee teams so he can participate at his highest level.”

Irene Jiminez, a Recreation Therapist at the site said, “he doesn’t let anything keep him down. He is an inspiration to all.”

Wiseman not only exhibits his own perseverance in improving his athletic ability but also serves as a model for St. Petersburg School of Prosthetics students who have to build a prosthetic arm and leg as part of their graduation requirements. His dedication to improving the skills of these students will help future generations of amputees all over the United States.

By Evangeline Conley, Public Affairs Officer, Buffalo VAMC

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