H20: 2 Parts Heart, 1 Part Obsession
It is inspiring, and almost exhausting, watching Albert McMillan swim his laps at the Wabash County YMCA with his swimming prosthesis. However, his passion for the pool was something he acquired after a life-changing and nearly life-ending car accident back in 2009.
While traveling home back on August 24, 2009, a vehicle (who was driven by an individual who was texting while driving), crossed the centerline and hit Albert head on, trapping him inside the car for nearly 45 minutes. 15 surgeries and 91 units of blood later, McMillan’s left leg was amputated above the knee.
After spending months in therapy, Albert joined the SRT family and was fit with a prosthesis.
“Along with my amputation, I had reconstructive surgery on my abdomen, and I lost a great deal of core strength”, said Albert. “I was restricted to a 20 pound weight limit, so I wasn’t able to do any weight lifting, and even exercises such as walking was difficult for me as it caused sores and abrasions”.
During this time, his physician recommended swimming as a therapeutic alternative.
“Swimming has great benefits for me”, says McMillan. “It is low impact, and not as hard on my joints. Before I received my swimming prosthesis, I tried to do less strenuous exercises like treading water, and I even tried playing water volleyball with the other YMCA members. I would hit the ball, and then down I went underwater”.
Albert would later work closely with his prosthetist, John Arnold, who developed a very unique swimming prosthesis, including a fin.
“I love my swimming leg”, Albert said with a smile he couldn’t hold back. “I feel like a little kid whose Mother keeps
yelling at him to get out of the pool; but I never want to get out”.
“I try to make it to the YMCA at least once a week”, said McMillan. “If I start skipping my routine, I can really feel the affects. But if I stick to my regime, I notice a huge increase in my endurance”.
On a weekly basis, Albert averages about 25 laps. He is currently enrolled in a program offered by the YMCA called “Swim Across the Great Lakes”. The staff has predetermined how many lengths at their pool it would take to swim across (in Albert’s case) Lake Erie: 3,630 to be exact.
The staff at SRT wishes Albert the best of luck and cant wait until he arrives at his next appointment with a “I Swam Across Lake Erie” t-shirt.