By Charlotte Nisbet
A super fit woman who lost her foot in a horror smash has become a kite boarding pro.
Frances Osorio, 29, from Miami, Florida, was told she needed her foot amputated after her broken ankle failed to heal –after spending six months in bed, she was finally given a prosthetic and has since re-learnt to kiteboard.
The sport – which requires high levels of balance and strength – quickly became Frances’s focus and now she has gained her ‘pro’ status and helps others in the sea with the huge kites.
Frances, who was a passenger in a car when she was involved in a collision, now uses a titanium prosthetic so it doesn’t erode when she’s in the water for long period of times.
She hopes sharing her story will help inspire others achieve their dreams despite limitations.
Frances, a professional kiteboader, said: “I have always enjoyed sport and have always been really active so when doctors told me I was going to lose my foot, I was distraught and seemed like the world was coming to an end.
“It was a huge shock, I’d be involved in an awful car crash but the leg it was expected to heal.
“But my ankle injuries were far more serious than I thought.
“But once they tried to fix it, they soon realised it was beyond repair after eight surgeries and one month in hospital.
“Once the bottom half of my leg was removed, I spent the next six months recovering in bed.
“It was so hard not being able to walk but once I rebuilt my strength physically and most importantly, emotionally, I began walking again with a prosthetic foot.
“Then I started precising my kiteboarding for around 20 minutes at a time which was as much as I could do before the stump caused excruciating pain and irritation
“It was so traumatising having my foot amputated but kiteboarding has allowed me to manage my anger, stress and those up and down days, it is what keeps me sane.
“I learnt to take things day by day and now six years on, I’m a professional kiteboarder and help others learn the sport too.
Frances now wears a prosthetic made from titanium and plastic to ensure it doesn’t erode in the sea.
She added: “I can now stay in the water for long periods without my prosthetic being damaged.
“I am limited compared to anyone with two feet but I have managed to do some impressive stunts with kiteboarding.
“I’m trying to make my life as bright as possible and overcoming my injury and dealing with becoming an amputee has been a huge part of moving on.”
Frances still gets phathom pains in her left leg and it can strike at any time.
She added: “I get pain in the foot that’s no longer there and sometimes it can stop me from doing anything as the pains are so sharp.
“I also get pressure sores from wearing my prosthetic for long periods of time but I won’t let it hold me back.”
Frances normally kiteboards whenever there is wind but normally coaches others at the weekend.
She said: “I kiteboard with two groups that help, train and teach injured veterans who have lost a limb or have any other disabilities.
Team Vetscape is an extreme sports and outdoor adventure-based community that brings veterans and civilians together on mission-focused teams
Frances added: “It’s not easy doing sports without my foot but I wasn’t willing to give up on kiteboarding.
“I hope my story inspires other people to pursue this or any sport, and its able to make people go out there.
“My life will never be the same, that truth is very visible every day.
“I have good days and bad days but I can see the positives and how lucky I was to have survived the crash that cost me my leg.
“I’m only looking forwards now not backwards and I will continue to spend all my spare time in the ocean and helping others .”