By Tom Schardin of Southwest News Media
(reprinted with permission from May 20, 2021)
There’s no slowing down 7-year-old Logan Pieper.
The first-grader at Shakopee Area Catholic School wrestles, skis, snowboards, and rides motocross.
And since the age of 2, he’s worn a prosthetic leg.
Logan first learned to walk on one leg at 10 months old, but now he’s received an upgrade.
Prosthetic leg? Not anymore. Try a custom BioDapt Mini Moto-Knee, a prosthetic that is built for active sport, motocross, snowboarding, and snowmobiling, among other things. It’s all thanks to Wiggle Your Toes and Monster Mike Schultz, an X Games gold medalist in Motocross and Snocross.
The Shakopee-based nonprofit Wiggle Your Toes had a virtual fundraiser April 10 and, along with Schultz, surprised Logan with his new Mini Moto-Knee.
“I was very excited and surprised,” Logan said. “It’s awesome. It makes me faster, and it helps me to stand up when I ride. I love it.”
The 36-year-old Schultz, who lost his leg in 2008 in a snowmobile race, is a Paralympic snowboarder and founder of BioDapt Inc., a prosthetics business. In 2018, he was the flag-bearer for the United States at the 2018 Winter Paralympics Parade of Nations.
Wiggle Your Toes was formed in 2008 by Aaron Holm after he lost both of his legs above the knee in an accident. Holm saw a need for people who needed support with the uncertainties that come with losing a limb. The organization helps individuals that have suffered the loss of a limb or have a limb deficiency live life to their full potential.
“I had an incredible support team, individuals that helped identify components of recovery post limb loss, and help draw up and execute a plan for recovery,” Holm said. “My recovery was quick and the outcome successful. We recognized how much knowledge we had gained from this experience and decided to give back.
“We have supported many individuals at all levels and abilities,” Holm added. “It’s very rewarding to our team to help people both recognize and realize their full potential post limb loss.”
No looking back
Logan was born with left-sided proximal femoral focal deficiency and fibular hemimelia. His tibia was located where his femur should have been, with a foot at the end, and he didn’t have a hip joint.
“When Logan was 2, we had to make the tough, but what we felt was the right, decision to amputate his foot so that he could have a knee within his prosthetic,” said Farah Pieper, Logan’s mother. “Since then, we have not looked back. Logan continues to impress us and prove to us that nothing will hold him back.”
Logan got his start in the Shakopee Wrestling Association at the age of 5. Former Shakopee High School coach Mark Neu met Logan when he was a coach in the youth system.
Neu gave Logan a framed autograph picture of Anthony Robles, a former Division I wrestler at Arizona State, who competed without a right leg and won an NCAA championship at 125 pounds.
Shortly after, Wiggle Your Toes set up Logan with a running blade to help him run more efficiently. The Pieper family stayed connected with the organization, attending fundraisers and ski and snowboard clinics.
Monster Mike invited Logan and his family to his compound near St. Cloud to ride motocross. At the time, BioDapt Inc. was there measuring up Logan for his new leg, although Logan had no idea.
It would be the same Moto-Knee and Versa Foot that Monster Mike designed for himself. It took several months to build Logan’s new leg and BioDapt and Wiggle Your Toes would share the cost.
“Not sure who was more excited about the surprise grant of the Mini Moto-Knee: Logan, his brother or his parents,” Holm said. “He was very excited to receive the knee. You could see in his eyes he wanted to try it out sooner rather than later.”
Logan got to try out his knee shortly after receiving it. Monster Mike invited Logan back to his compound for another motocross session.
“I was so proud and amazed at how quickly he was able to adapt around the moto track,” Monster Mike said in his April newsletter. “It was all high-fives and happy faces as Logan, his younger brother Austin, and I rode lap after lap.”
The next weekend, Logan competed in the Spring Creek Mx Park motocross race in Millville.
Logan took home the second-place trophy.