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A Gillette prosthetics and orthotics business is creating opportunities for the mobility impaired

Pivot Prosthetics & Orthotics

Pivot Prosthetics & Orthotics is a Gillette-based business that helps those who require prosthetic and orthotic devices, but it is also providing opportunities for social engagement with others who are in similar situations. Their adaptive mobility group uses activities such as archery in addition to social events that offer community and encouragement.

Their name also reflects the goal for patients to be better able to adapt to the changes that affect them.

“Our main vision here, so our name is Pivot Prosthetics & Orthotics, the reason for that is that you have to adapt, change, and adjust and pivot throughout life,” said Brodie Rice, owner of Pivot Prosthetics & Orthotics.

“It was an opportunity to get individuals that have an adaptive need, whether it's again, prosthetics or orthotics, and let them know that they're welcome into the community, that they can do goals or try new things that they haven't tried before.”

Rice started the business about a year and a half ago and serves patients of various ages, ranging from infants to the elderly, and with many different needs, including those who have had limbs amputated or who were born without.

“We see anyone from newborn babies to geriatrics, so from two-or three-month-olds that have clubfoot that we're fitting with custom devices to help with that after surgery, we do that,” he explained. “We do anything from athletes that have ankle injuries, knee injuries, back injuries, basically head to toe, we do that.”

The adaptive mobility group was created several years ago, when Rice worked for Campbell County Health. It was initially more narrowly focused but was later broadened in its scope.

“A couple of years ago we started what was called the amputee support group and it was great to get together and just help those that had either had recent amputations or had had amputations for a long time and get a group together – people to share their experiences and just connect,” Rice said. “And we saw that there was a need for others that weren't necessarily amputees and so we changed it to the adaptive mobility group.”

The group has been a part of several community activities, including helping a local nonprofit that helps provide nutritious food for county residents, as well as hosting meals at a local restaurant that has adapted their facilities to accommodate those in wheelchairs, walkers or who may otherwise need special accommodations. It also provides a social environment for those who may feel uncomfortable dining out due to mobility or other concerns.

“The purpose with that was just to get people out into that environment and help them to feel comfortable and show them that they're welcome in our community, because we got such a great community here,” he said.

Archery events have proven popular, which have been hosted with 4-H members at the archery range at Rocky Mountain Discount Sports, a sporting goods store. They are planning on doing this again in the future. They also have another event planned that focuses on technology and learning new skills at Area 59.

“There's going to be a class, kind of like an art class, they're going to show us how the laser cutter and some of the machines work there. And again, just getting everyone out in the community, showing there's things that you can do, even if you couldn't do the same hobbies or things that you previously were able to do. There might be new things or new skills that you can learn and have a good time doing.”

Archery, which is scheduled once each month, has attracted about 20 participants, with other events, such as their most recent social, attracting around 15 people. Some of Rice’s patients have participated in these events, some of which he is known for a decade or more.

Rice said they plan to expand their repertoire of offerings and take advantage of the local facilities for them to be able to do more.

“What I really [would] like to see is to bring more adaptive activities locally,” he said. “There's an organization called the Challenged Athletes Foundation, and it's an organization that I really am passionate about. They provide opportunities for individuals for grants to get adaptive equipment, so either adaptive bikes, or even travel costs to go to events and different things like that. [There’s] adaptive skiing, there's wheelchair basketball, seated volleyball, adaptive climbing, those are some of the things that I've participated in before with this group. What I'd like to see is to have some type of regional event to that capacity.”

Rice and his team are investing in technology to better provide for their patients, some of which come from as far away as Montana and North Dakota in addition to Sheridan, Buffalo, and South Dakota. A mobile unit allows Rice to better serve these patients, including those who may have limited mobility to the point of not being able to leave their homes, among other reasons.

Hugh Cook is Wyoming Public Radio's Northeast Reporter, based in Gillette. A fourth-generation Northeast Wyoming native, Hugh joined Wyoming Public Media in October 2021 after studying and working abroad and in Washington, D.C. for the late Senator Mike Enzi.

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