A former Israeli paratrooper who ran marathons before having his leg amputated at the age of 19 has thanked British supporters for his new prosthetic “running leg” which he received last week.
Yair Nomberg, 53, a father of three, suffered a devastating injury in 1982 in an army base in the Jordan Valley, a month before the first Lebanon War, after his fellow soldiers opened a heavy armoured door on his leg.
It left Nomberg facing amputation and six months’ recuperation in a Jerusalem hospital, and the two soldiers responsible were jailed for negligence. The young Paratrooper was given a prosthetic leg, but assumed his running days were over.
Yet advances in technology and philanthropists in the UK mean that Nomberg now has a new “running leg” – a specialist prosthetic that allows the former marathon runner to once again take to the track.
“My new leg was fitted ten days ago,” he said this week. “If you contributed to this, you’re marvellous. I’ve been running five days a week since I got it. It’s a special leg for running. It’s very strange. I need to take it step-by-step, but I hope to run another marathon one day, although I’m not a young man any more.”
Nomberg, who lives in Kochav Yair in central Israel, ran the first ever Tel Aviv marathon, and thanked the British community in the UK for helping the Dror Foundation raise $10,500 to buy the specially-modified limb, saying: “I can fulfil my dream to run again.”
A spokeswoman for the Dror for the Wounded Foundation, which provides assistance to wounded IDF veterans, said: “We’re honoured to help these heroes who sacrifice so much to defend Israel and the Jewish people. To see Yair run again after 35 years is one of those special moments that makes it all worthwhile.”