Sunday November 5, Frédéric Lazaro and Pierre Gerbelot, two adopted Orléanians, will be together on the starting line of the New York marathon. The first is a femoral amputee, and uses a racing blade. The second is his orthoprosthetist and friend, who advises him and supports him in choosing his prostheses.
This is not their first challenge for the two men. Last year, Frédéric ran his first marathon, in Paris, with the able-bodied. He completed it in 5h59, already with Pierre who he had brought into the adventure. A year and a half later, he wants to repeat the performance, this time on American soil.
“Sport saved me and it changed my life,” explains this almost fifty-year-old, who lost a leg at 19 following a motorcycle accident. “I started it in the 2000s, first running, I did a km, then 10, then more, then cycling, then the triathlon…” His teammate, for his part, doesn’t is not as sporty as his disabled friend. “I suffered to finish the Paris marathon. This time, I trained better,” smiles this orthoprosthetist, who took over Shaeffler Orthopédie in 2015, a company with around thirty employees based in Olivet (Loiret). Both run together “for fun”. But not only. They also want to raise awareness about the coverage of prostheses, orthotics and other devices that help disabled people regain mobility.
Equipment that allows you to play sports, like Frédéric’s, is not reimbursed and costs several thousand euros, which excludes many patients. Furthermore, the list of reimbursed products is old, and does not allow disabled people to benefit from the latest innovations. And, above all, the regulated prices, which have not changed since 2017, are now too low. Due to inflation, the orthoprosthetist who makes the prostheses is no longer able to find his way. He sees his costs explode (raw materials, heating, electricity, etc.) and his margins melt away, or even disappear.
The orthoprosthetist profession – there are 1,300 orthoprosthetists in France – is therefore asking for an increase in its prices of at least 10%, which would represent 32 million euros more per year for health insurance. Otherwise, they predict, many professionals risk going out of business, and leaving some of the 850,000 people who use their services by the wayside.