The 2005 documentary “Murderball” has an amazing 98 percent positive rating on the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, and once you’ve seen it, you understand why. This sports story follows world-class athletes, but not just any athletes.
It tracks a team of quadriplegic rugby players (yes, you read that correctly) on their way to the Olympics and the struggles they overcome along the way. The team members came by their disabilities any number of ways, many of them involving accidents.
The saddest story to me, though, was that of Bob Lujano. At the age of 9, Lujano contracted a rare form of meningitis, which lead to the amputation of all four limbs.
That’s a tale which would probably sound familiar to the Sasokin family of New York. Father Nachum Sasonkin, who came to the Big Apple from Israel and eventually became a rabbi, is no stranger to tragedy.
On March 1, 1994, Sasonkin was on a bus with a group of fellow Hasidic theology students when a gunman opened fire on the vehicle. One of Sasonkin’s friends died, and another was shot in the gut.
Sasonkin himself took a bullet to the back of the head. Miraculously, he survived, although he faced lingering issues with his speech and balance.
However, Sasonkin and his wife Dina would go on to face an even greater trial. Their youngest child, Moshe, came down with a rare infection at the tender age of 6 months.
Doctors would later identify it as a strain of meningitis, but at the time, the physicians were stumped. The Chabad Lubavitch Community News Service reported that 20 doctors from various departments of a local hospital examined the little boy.
“Between us, we must have 300 years of experience, but we’ve never seen anything like this,” the head physician told the worried parents. In the end, they had to amputate all four limbs, a very similar procedure to what Lujano had faced.
But Nachum and Dina Sasonkin weren’t willing to let Moshe live an immobilized life. By the age of 6, they had him walking with the help of medical professionals and a pair of prostheses.
And that hasn’t been the end of his ambulatory adventures. Thanks to the help of Prosthetics in Motion, an office specializing in high-tech artificial limbs, they’ve helped Moshe do something that would’ve once seemed impossible: run.
A video released by Prosthetics in Motion shows Moshe racing down a wood-floored hall in the business’ office. His new prostheses make clanking bangs on the floor and the residual limbs of his arms swing back and forth as he seeks balance.
Still, you can’t miss the smile on the now-9-year-old’s face. His grin fairly beams, stretching from ear to ear.
In another part of the clip, he races a Prosthetics in Motion employee and (naturally) wins. A final bit shows him sprinting so hard that he loses his yarmulke.
“Moshe had never been fitted with running prosthetics before, but he adjusted to the feeling of them very quickly,” Prosthetics in Motion’s Emily Grey told Caters News. “When he first saw the prosthetics he was hesitant.
“We taught him how to trust his prosthetics and get used to the energy they return. Then he was off!”