Ride Fast, Jump Big
From the first time he laid eyes on a motorcycle as a little kid, Bobby Sims knew that he wanted to ride, and ride fast. He begged his parents for a bike and they gave in and bought him a mini-bike for trail riding when he was 13. “But, that wasn’t it for me. I always wanted more speed and to be able to do jumps,” Bobby said. At age 15, his grandmother accommodated him with a Honda CR 250.
Soon after, Bobby could be found out at the motocross track as often as possible. It was there that he met Wade Free, who was sponsoring another young man who needed a teammate. Wade spotted Bobby’s talent and offered to sponsor him, as well. His sponsorship paid for travel expenses, fees, motorcycles—everything surrounding competing. After racing for real the first time at age 17, Bobby was even more hooked on the sport. He continued to compete up until 2011 when he learned that he had a daughter on the way, and determined that it was time to sell his bike and get a “real” job.
But, motorcycles were in his blood: he wasn’t without a bike for long. He continued enjoying riding with his buddies as a hobby. It was on this last motorcycle, where as fate would have it, he crashed. “I was trying to throw a big “whip” and that’s what bit and I ended up injuring my leg,” he explained. He was in Texas at the time and was transported to a major hospital in the area.
His experience in Texas left much to be desired. There was conflict between surgeons regarding the best route to take between attempting to spare the limb and amputation, with the orthopedist firmly coming down on the side of amputation. As Bobby puts it: “I was laying there with my leg rotting off and finally demanded that they amputate. Even afterwards, my experience didn’t improve and my parents and I decided that it would be best for me to come back to LSU in Shreveport, where I finally got the care that I needed in order to recover.”
As Bobby reports, one positive result of his accident is that it brought him and his parents closer together. “I couldn’t really do anything for myself, and my parents were there for me to help and support me. My mom was by my side every day.”
Since a young age, Bobby had skills working on cycles—everything from re-building engines to customization. He used his expertise on his own and his buddies’ bikes. Today he is more focused on working on his Camaros and is looking forward to racing again—this time on four wheels.
When asked about Snell’s, Bobby’s response was heartfelt: “When my orthopedist asked me where I would like to go for my prosthetic care, I said Snell’s. At the time, I didn’t realize that some of my racing buddies had been going there for custom braces. But, something just drew me to them. Snell’s has been really good. I’ve been treated like family. Russell and Mary are the best! Well, everyone there is great, really.”
Bobby wears an Otto Bock Genium x3 knee now, but that wasn’t always the case. After going through several types of knees that couldn’t take the “punishment” of his active lifestyle, it was determined that this high tech knee was his best option. That began the intense process of getting his insurance to approve and pay for it. The insurance company had deemed that the x3 was “experimental” and would not authorize it for medical necessity. “They pulled together at Snell’s, and kept on hammering at the insurance company until they approved it.”
While he is delighted to have his knee, which allows him to walk up stairs, sprint and do other activities, he is disappointed that the technology is not readily available to other active amputees without a fight.
“One of the best things about having this knee is that I can keep up with my little girl. I got her a 4-wheeler and put a governor on it so it can’t go too fast and with the x3, I can jog behind her and keep her safe when she rides. Without this knee, I couldn’t do that!”