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clair hemming

Posted 26 June 2017
by Clair Hemming

Proud to support Erb’s Palsy Awareness Week – Overcoming adversity: Luke’s story

Luke was born in 1999 and suffered bilateral fractured clavicles and damage to the brachial plexus due to the force used to deliver him. The brachial plexus is the network of nerves that sends signals from the spine to the shoulder, arm and hand, to supply movement and sensation. Tests at 3 months of age confirmed widespread and severe damage to all 5 nerve roots, including avulsion from the spinal cord. Surgery was performed and extensive physiotherapy provided but such degree of damage was beyond repair. 

Luke has such little function and feeling in his left arm that he undertakes almost all activities one handed using his right unaffected arm. His condition is known as Erb’s Palsy.

Luke who is now 18 years of age, has refused to let his Erb’s Palsy impede him. Although he did not learn to swim until he was 9 years old his determination to succeed quickly led him to swimming for the City club (non-disabled), and on a national level competing against other impaired swimmers all over the Country.  His best swimming stroke was the butterfly which he would do with only one arm. He achieved an international classification and was training with the Home Nations Squad to compete in the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo when unfortunately he was injured. Never one to “rest on his laurels”, he promptly took up the javelin, shot put and discus! Luke has received his classification and takes part in his first major competition at the end of this month. There is even talk (again!) of Tokyo 2020. This young man will just not be thwarted.

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About the author

clair hemming

Clair Hemming

Partner and Solicitor

Partner and solicitor in the medical negligence department and a member of the Devon & Exeter Medico Legal Society and the Law Society Clinical Negligence Panel