He’s a Real Inspiration to Students

By Iris Santana –

Running- his time to get away, his stress releaser, his passion.

Robert Wolpert, an eleventh grader at JP McCaskey had his heart torn out of him when he received the news that he wouldn’t be able to run anymore.

“I kinda cried,” he said. “I felt like I lost something real great.”

But Wolpert’s dedication to get through his crisis is an inspiration to students everywhere.

Wolpert has a condition called Spondylosis. Spondylosis is a degenerative

Anteroposterior view of lumbar spine. Vertical overgrowths from margins of vertebral bodies represent osteophytes.

disorder that may cause loss of normal spinal structure and function.

Running helps him get away from everything in his house, in his head and everywhere else. It releases the stress that goes on in his life.

Before his diagnosis, Wolpert was always a runner.  Then in the middle of seventh grade he started experiencing all of the symptoms of Spondylosis, which consists of low back stiffness, difficulty walking and back pain coming and going. This would make almost everything he did on a daily basis painful. Simple things like laying down, were uncomfortable.

Boston Overlap Back Brace

When he finally went to the doctors’, they told him he had a bilateral-stress fracture on his L-5 lumbar. He was then “sentenced” to six weeks of wearing a Boston Overlap Back Brace. While wearing the brace, Wolpert must follow very strict rules. He is not allowed to participate in any type of sports, activities, events and he has to wear it from the time he wakes up to the time he goes to sleep. He is also not allowed to have lotion on his body because if his brace rubs against his skin, it may cause skin damage.

Not only does he have to follow strict rules, but having to wear the brace affects normal, everyday tasks, such as walking up steps or tying his shoes. It also gets very irritating because the brace has to be tucked inside his jeans.

Wolpert said that having to wear the brace affects his attitude most of the time. He gets really grumpy and angry at times, thinking about not being able to run.

“It’s very depressing to not be able to do something you love and are passionate about,” said Wolpert.

Although running is his passion, he still has “substitutions” for it. Since he can’t run, he goes for walks and listens to his ipod to ease his mind. He also said he likes to write poems and reads sometimes.

Wolpert still faithfully goes to every home track meet to support his team.

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