Born With Clubfoot, Endurance Athlete Scott Defies All Odds With ExoSym® 

Scott ExoSym
June 3, 2024
Hanger Clinic

Every three minutes, a child is born with clubfoot. If left untreated, clubfoot can cause pain and make it more difficult to walk. However, as Scott shares with us, there is hope. As a father of three incredible children, an adventure and endurance athlete, and a person born with clubfoot, Scott continues to overcome the odds with the assistance of his ExoSym® leg braces.  

Growing Up with Clubfoot 

Scott was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. At birth, it was discovered that he was born with congenital talipes equinovarus (CTEV), more commonly known as clubfoot, which occurs when one or both feet are pointed inward and downward. 

“My situation is particularly severe, impacting both lower limbs from the knees down. Additionally, those with clubfoot may experience other issues. For me, I required jaw surgery,” said Scott. “Throughout my life, doctors told me I would not walk as an adult. I had extensive treatments throughout early childhood, including casting, ankle-foot orthoses (AFOs), and post-medial release surgeries on both lower limbs. 

As a child, I was determined to adapt and thrive despite the adversities I faced. At one point, I had the fastest mile in elementary school. But with minimal muscle and no real range of motion below the knee, I could not keep up with the other kids as I got older. This loss of mobility led me to lose my identity. I was depressed, ashamed of my failing body, and tried to hid my thin legs by wearing pants.” 

Scott continued to participate in high school sports, but found it increasingly difficult. 

“I tried to continue to play football, basketball, and baseball. But I was in pain, icing my feet in a tub to try to stop the pain until, eventually, it got to be too much.” 

Life After School

Scott went on to finish school, get married in 2003, and have three children.  

“Over the years I tried different dynamic AFOs, but they never helped me in the way I needed,” said Scott. “I was ready to give up when I reached out to Ryan Blanck, CPO, at Hanger Clinic to explore the ExoSym technology. I was apprehensive when I arrived in Gig Harbor, Washington, having not had success with other AFO braces in the past, but I began to trust Ryan and the process. I started with the ExoSym on my right leg. After experiencing how it benefited me, I proceeded with the ExoSym for my left leg. Wearing the ExoSym leg braces helped me regain my identity as an athlete and opened doors to many opportunities.”

Running Again 

Scott has always had a passion for running.   

“Running is the toughest thing for me physically because of my disability, yet I still love it,” Scott continued. “I don’t look for an easy way. I just want an opportunity to compete. I want to see how far someone like me can go before I can’t go anymore. 

With the assistance of my bilateral ExoSym leg braces, I’ve won or placed in adaptive and traditional running competitions. I recently achieved a lifelong dream and finished a 50K ultramarathon, with my eyes now set on longer distances. In para sports, I placed second with my team in the 2019 Para Spartan World Championships. I’ve also done well in races that are not specifically for people with disabilities. It might not sound like a big deal, but doctors once said I wouldn’t be able to walk as an adult. Yet here I am, running many miles, overcoming struggles and proving them wrong.” 

Life Today 

“Having access to ExoSym has changed my life. In addition to increasing my mobility, I feel empowered to lead the life I choose. The team at Hanger Clinic has become an extended family to me, enabling me to better participate in the lives of my family and the life I want to live. I relentlessly chase my goals every day and am thankful for Ryan Blanck and my ExoSym leg braces.” 

Clubfoot Awareness 

Clubfoot is the most common musculoskeletal birth deformity, with over 200,000 babies born with this condition each year. There are also hundreds of thousands of children and young adults who are living with this debilitating condition worldwide.1 World Clubfoot Day seeks to unite those affected by clubfoot, inspire and encourage one another, and spread awareness for this common congenital disability. 

Scott’s shares, “Less than 15 percent of children born in low- and middle-incomes countries receive the necessary treatment. Those who miss out on early treatment may be burdened with lifelong challenges caused by untreated clubfoot, including ongoing pain, limited mobility, and reduced opportunities. Those with more severe cases, such as myself, can face significant challenges. I want to share with those individuals that the ExoSym may be an incredible option to restore their mobility, and even more than that, provide personal empowerment.” 

1. Vanderbilt Health

Latest Updates

Subscribe to stay up-to-date on our latest posts.

View All