Gracie FAQ


People are amazed to learn Gracie has had more than 70 operations.

“Why so many?”is an often asked question.

Many of those operations happened during the initial three-month hospital stay at the time of her wreck in 1983. The extensive trauma Gracie experienced included multiple breaks in every bone from her waist down, multiple compound fractures, massive blood loss requiring twenty-three blood transfusions, and infections.

Her legs took the brunt of the accident, and dozens of operations involved trying to repair and save Gracie’s legs. Over the years, everything medically possible was attempted, but eventually Gracie made the choice to have them removed. It didn’t stop there, however. Gracie’s legs had been so traumatized, that even amputating them below the knee took several operations due to extensive scar tissue.

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What type of limbs do Gracie use?

Gracie uses state of the art Flex-Foot® and Ceterus® prosthetics by Ossur.

These legs benefit Gracie by providing simulated ankle motion, proportional response and shock absorption. All premium Ossur Flex-Foot products are made from carbon fiber, a material used extensively in the aerospace industry for it’s superior strength and flexibility. Most important, in lower limb prosthetics like Gracie’s, is the function of the heel. Each step Gracie takes starts with heel strike. Heel motion is the lifeline of a natural gait and simple tibial progression without having to “push” or work to get through each step. Gracie’s extensive damage to her hips and upper legs require prosthetics that can help compensate for lack of natural movement. The Ceterus legs allow Gracie to pivot and rotate much easier. As an avid snow-skier, these legs help her navigate advanced slopes with confidence, but also make it easier for her to walk around on stage as she speaks and performs.