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  • Chris McMillan

‘I control my life’. China amputee with blinking prosthetic leg empowers others

South China Morning Post


28th September 2023


‘I control my life’. China amputee with blinking prosthetic leg empowers others with limb loss to achieve remarkable speed in running and swimming

  • Liang was tinkering with his customised scooter when its modified gear exploded, severing his left leg

  • Fitted with an artificial leg, he soon found himself making changes to his prosthetic using his expertise as a mechanical engineer

By Alice Yan


A former mechanical engineer in China with only one leg has turned his disability into a superpower by using his skills to modify his prosthetic limb, allowing him to run and swim faster than ordinary people.


Now, Liang Kaiyu, from eastern China’s Shandong province, who is known as the real-life Iron Man, is working to help others with similar disabilities make new achievements.


Liang’s story began in January 2020 when he was tinkering with his customised scooter. As he tested out a modified gear inside the scooter, the machine exploded, severing his left leg in the process, state broadcaster CCTV reported.


Liang, who was born in the 1990s, recalled that the following weeks were the darkest time of his life.

“I was extremely pessimistic as I didn’t see any hope for my future,” he said in the interview. “I couldn’t imagine what my family could do and what sort of job I could do in the future.”


Like many other amputees, Liang was fitted with an artificial leg, but he soon found himself making changes to the prosthetic using his expertise as a mechanical engineer.


After he began posting his handiwork online, some internet observers started providing encouraging feedback. Soon, Liang felt his attitude changing, as though he had reached a turning point.


“I was not so depressed anymore. I just concentrated on walking exercises and modifying prosthetic limbs,” he said.


At first, Liang’s modifications were intended to make everyday tasks, like walking and putting on trousers and shoes, easier and more efficient. But before long, he was compelled to make his artificial limb “cool and fashionable”.





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