Aug 29, 2015 | Adam Fleisher
Most people would not know by watching him that Adam Fleisher is a disabled athlete. Often, it is
assumed that he is a guide to an athlete, even though he is wearing an Achilles athlete shirt! When he tells people his story, most people’s reaction is one of shock and disbelief.
Adam began experiencing knee issues at age 13. By 14, he was on painkillers and in constant physical therapy. Diagnosed with knee malt racking and cartilage issues, he had both knees surgically repaired by age 15 and was told he could not compete in competitive sports, including running. Freshman year of college, he blew out one of his knees and endured more physical therapy, pain meds, and eventually surgery. Sophomore year, his other knee had to be revised again. Adam heeded his doctor’s warning again: no competitive sports, no running. This was very difficult for Adam, as he enjoyed running and had dreams of running in sanctioned events when he was older.
Flash forward to his 30’s living in Florida: Adam is married to his wife Debbie, a father to son Miles, and has a Master’s Degree and a successful career. But his knee pain returned, and no surgeon wanted to touch his knees. He found a new doctor who performed a very rare surgery: bilateral patella-femoral knee replacement. It was a long and tedious year-long recovery period for Adam, who had to learn how to walk, sit, stand, bend, and drive again. And he continued to listen to his doctor’s warning: Do not play any sports, no heavy lifting, no running, and limit your time on your knees.
Now in his early 40’s, Adam has since had both of his knees revised…again. His last sugary was in 2013, after moving to CT in 2010 with his family and finding a gifted and compassionate surgeon. With advanced techniques, Adam was active again within 4 months. His son Miles participated in Fleet Feet Sports West Hartford’s Zoomerangs, a running program for kids. In the spring of 2014, Adam started walking the track with Miles at Zoomerangs events. Within a few months of regular walking, his knees and legs were stronger. In June, Adam and Miles walked 2.8 miles of the Glastonbury River Runner’s 5K race, The Firecracker 5K (they ran the last stretch of the race, their first race together!). Achilles International CT Chapter had some athletes in the race, and a table set up to hand out information. Adam and Miles stopped by the table, and Adam became an Achilles athlete that day!
Adam was paired with his first guide, Cindy Drozd of Tolland. They joined the Fleet Feet 5K training group and ran the Old Wethersfield 5K and the Rentschler Airfield 5K together that summer. Adam was finally realizing his dreams from when he was a teenager; running in sanctioned road race events! He also got involved in his hometown running group, The Glastonbury River Runners. The running bug had bit him, and the years of physical therapy and perseverance was paying off. He was finally able to run within his limitations through the support of Achilles International and the Run 169 Society, which he also joined last year!
Since joining Achilles and Run 169, Adam has finished countless 5K’s, and has worked his way up to half marathon distances with a walk/run program to protect his knees. With a goal to run in all 169 towns in CT, Adam has run eight 5Ks, one 5 mile, three 10Ks, one 8.6 mile, one 10 mile, and 9 half marathons so far this year!. This fall, he is training for one 11.6 mile race, 2 half marathons, and the TCS New York City Marathon with experienced guide and marathoner/Ironman Chris Love by his side.
“Achilles International CT Chapter has given me is a second chance at life. I was told from an early age I would never run again. I would never do what I enjoyed or loved. And now I am showing people what a disabled athlete can achieve. How do you thank an organization that gave you a second chance at life? You represent them with all your heart and might. This is why I run with and for Achilles International CT Chapter.”