Survivor of the Cambria Mill Explosion Takes First Steps

Special Report Collin VanderGailen Video

As OSHA determines the cause of the deadly explosion that killed five workers at Didion Milling Plant, CBS 58 is continuing to follow the journey of one man who survived the blast.

Collin VanderGailen, 23, wasn’t working his normal shift when he was thrown under a train car at the plant in May. He lost both of his legs in the blast which was tough news for a former high school basketball star.

On Thursday, VanderGailen started walking for the first time since the blast with the use of prosthetics at Sisson Mobility Restoration Center. CBS 58’s Whitney Martin has his story.

Special Report Collin VanderGailen Video

Thank you to the cbs58 for sharing this Special Report video.

Victim of Cambria Mill Explosion Fitted with Prosthetic Legs

Just over two months after having his legs amputated after an explosion at the Didion Milling Plant in Cambria, WI, Collin Vander Galien is fitted with prostheses at Sisson Mobility Restoration Center in Monona.

We will be sure to share all of the amazing articles regarding Collin’s progress, we wish him the very best and will continue to work with him as he learns how to navigate his new prosthetic legs.

Thank you to the for sharing this video.

Wisconsin Mill Explosion Victim Continues Recovery

A Wisconsin man is continuing to recover after losing both his legs in a mill explosion earlier this year.

Collin Vander Galien of Randolph received prosthetic legs last week. They cost a total of $160,000, the Wisconsin State Journal reported. The 23-year-old lost his legs during the Didion Milling Plant explosion in Cambria in May. The explosion killed five workers and injured 10 others, including Vander Galien. He’d only been working at the plant for four months. Vander Galien said he put his arms up to shield his face when he heard the blast. A train car landed on his legs and crushed them. “I couldn’t feel anything in my legs,” Vander Galien said. “I tried to wiggle out of there. They were just stuck.”

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Dr. Eric Anderson and a paramedic had to amputate his legs at the scene. His right leg was amputated just below the knee, while his left was amputated just above the knee. “They said I didn’t bleed out because there was so much pressure on my legs,” Vander Galien said. Vander Galien’s father, Bill Vander Galien, said his son has tried to stay positive. “About the second sentence he said to us was, ‘My legs are gone. They’re not going to grow back. Let’s move on,'” Bill Vander Galien said. “And that’s the attitude he’s had since that morning he woke up from his surgery.”

The prosthetic for Vander Galien’s left leg has a knee made in Germany, said David Sisson, the prosthetist. The knee has only been available to the general public for about two years and is the most robust, heavy-duty microprocessor knee available, he said. “This knee is probably the smartest thing in the room,” Sisson said. Despite the knee’s technology, Sisson said Vander Galien likely won’t be doing anymore heavy labor in his life. Vander Galien said he’s considering working for the NBA G-League affiliate of the Milwaukee Bucks or working at the YMCA.

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration hasn’t ruled on the cause of the explosion. Cambria Village President Glen Williams says the investigation could take six months to complete.

Contact Sisson Mobility to learn more about
Lower Limb Prostheses.

Thank you to the Wisconsin State Journal for this informative article.

Before and After: Acceptance and Adaptation

InMotion Magazine - Amputee Coalition

We really enjoyed the November/December 2016 edition of the Amputee Coalition’s free magazine ‘inMotion‘. The featured article is about Aimee Copeland, an inspirational 24-year-old amputee who lives a life unlimited! Aimee’s redesign of her 1920’s home fully promotes her independence.

Aimee Copeland Inspirational Amputee

‘inMotion’ magazine is published bimonthly for amputees, caregivers and healthcare professionals, providing timely and comprehensive information. It is available online as an interactive, page-flipping publication. Click the magazine image above to read this issue.

Amputee Coalition InMotion Magazine - Amputee Coalition

Advantages of Prosthetic Legs

Lower Limb Prostheses


Prosthetic legs are artificial limbs that are used in cases of amputation. Either one or both legs may be subjected to amputation for a variety of medical reasons. Amputations can be performed above or below the knee, depending on medical conditions. A variety of factors can make the use of a prosthetic leg easier. Typically, people who are younger and do not have weight problems are better able to adapt to their prosthetic legs. Stamina, bone structure and motivation are also factors. Not everyone who has a leg amputation wants to wear a prosthetic leg, and not everyone with two leg amputations wants prosthetic leg replacements. There are, however, advantages to using prosthetic legs.


The Atlas of Limb Prosthetics: Surgical, Prosthetic, and Rehabilitation Principles conducted a study to compare the energy expended when walking with a single prosthetic leg and walking with crutches. The use of crutches with double amputees was not studied. When the prosthetic legs are well fitted and the patients have satisfactory gaits, patients expend less energy walking with prosthetic legs than when walking without prosthetic legs and using crutches.


For people with two leg amputations, the choice is between prosthetic legs and a wheelchair. Some patients, even those with single amputations, prefer the comfort of a wheelchair and choose to forgo prosthetic legs. But prosthetic legs allow amputees the option of going up stairs. Also, there are areas that are not accessible by wheelchairs, although there has been an increased awareness of making areas available to the handicapped. Prosthetic legs provides a greater sense of independence.


People can gain a better psychological outlook on life by mastering the use of prosthetic legs, whether they have one or two prosthetic legs. According to the Amputee Coalition of America, amputees feel less discomfort with their conditions when wearing prosthetic legs because of the ability to blend in better with the crowd. Also, people who do not have the opportunity to wear prosthetic legs feel cheated and can become bitter and frustrated.

Contact Sisson Mobility to learn more about
Lower Limb Prostheses.


Thanks to Live Strong for this informative info.