Children's Health

High school athlete and amputee eager to run with prosthetic leg

Jared Oman (left) and his older brother, Kyle Oman (right)

Jared Oman (left) and his older brother, Kyle Oman (right)  (Fox 12 Oregon)

The Oman brothers are two star athletes at Skyview High School in Vancouver, Wash.: Kyle Oman is a senior and the leader of the school’s varsity football team, while his younger brother Jared prefers cross-country.

But Jared, 16, is sitting on the sidelines lately, after having his left leg amputated below the knee due to circulation issues that have plagued him since he was 10, Fox 12 Oregon reported.

“I would just try to shake it off because I'm a tough kid,” Jared told Fox 12 of the chronic pain.

But in September, things took a turn for the worse: Doctors couldn’t get blood to circulate to Jared’s left foot and told him it was going to die. That’s when Jared became an amputee.

According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, the most common reason for amputation is poor circulation, which is caused by the narrowing of or damage to the arteries. Amputation can be performed for acute or chronic infections that don’t respond to antibiotics or surgical debridement, or removal of dead or damaged tissue.

Jared will get a state-of-the-art prosthetic leg in a matter of weeks, but he is using crutches in the meantime.

“It makes you look at stuff different ways,” his older brother, Kyle, told My Fox 12. “Every time I walk on the field, it's a privilege, not a right.”

While Jared awaits his new leg, he’s cheering on his brother from the benches.

“The team really likes Jared,” Kyle said. “After games, they all come up and hug [him].”

Support for Jared has even come from beyond Skyview High School— a teacher at nearby Columbia River High School tweeted to Jared before a big game that “all rivalries vanish and everybody’s on your team … the Chieftains have your back!”

Jared said he felt “blessed” to receive the tweet, calling it “amazing.”

“… I have the Storm behind by back and I have the Chieftains,” Jared said, “so it's not only the school but the community,” he said.

After Jared gets his prosthetic leg, he plans on walking, running— and even doing marathons.

“You can't look backwards when you're in the position that I am,” Jared said. “[You can] only look forward and see this is a little piece of your life.”

Click for more from Fox 12 Oregon.