New Jersey resident and New York City Wall Street attorney Gary Yerman, 57, is now “celebrating” his second year as an amputee which he believes has been successful.
“I’m up to running five miles, biking about twenty miles. My first event was this past June 21st in Montauk, Long Island, a sprint triathlon. I did a July 16th triathlon in Atlantic City. And then this past Sept. 25, I did a ‘Tough Men’ triathlon in Harriman Park (Ramapo, NY). I came in fifth out of eight in my category. I was the only amputee, prosthetic user.” Yerman finished in the upper half among more than seventy competitors.
About two weeks ago, Yerman ran in an Old Tappan community 5-K competition with some 75 participants, which has important meaning to him: This included Yerman’s sister, Lesley Finer, who was five when Yerman suffered his injury. “I never had a chance before to run with my sister.” The brother-sister team ran 29 minutes, 58 seconds.
Yerman suffered a freak accident when he was nineteen playing football in Germany while serving in the military. Playing quarterback, a bunch of opponents landed on his knee which got blown out, destroying the nerve which controls the entire foot. The injury left Yerman with a “footdrop” and steadily deteriorating ankle.
He underwent fifteen different surgeries including pins placed to support the ankle, fusions, and more—none of which were effective. Walking became a difficult agony and severely limited his ability to enjoy sports. His orthopedists at New York-Presbyterian believed amputating his right leg below the knee was the best option.
Using his new prosthetic provided by Miguel Gomez, Certified Prosthetist/Orthotist and Ray Chaput, Certified Orthotist of East Coast Orthotic & Prosthetic Corporation, this past spring and summer, Yerman enjoyed several rounds of golf with a relatively normal swing, pain-free for the first time in 38 years. “For golf season ’22, here I come!” Yerman exclaims.
This past summer Yerman went surfing with his children. “Bodysurfing, I would swim out and dive onto the board. I couldn’t do that for 38 years!”
For the person facing an amputation Yerman’s advice: “Carefully evaluate your decision to make sure amputation and a prosthetic is the best approach. Then do not be afraid of learning how to walk again and possibly run. It can open a whole new world of opportunity.”
The NYC Olympic Triathalon in Manhattan where Gary hopes to compete includes a one-mile swim, a 25-mile bike ride, and a six-mile run in 2022. “I want to move up from the spring triathalon to the Olympic distance triathlon.”
Vincent Benenati, the CEO of East Coast Orthotic & Prosthetic Corporation proclaims: “Because the staff and patients of East Coast O & P all know about Gary and are proud of his achievements—we are coming to watch him at these events, and will celebrate after he wins.”