I loved going to amusement parks before my amputation.  Am I still able to ride on the rides with a prosthesis? J.M – Chesapeake

Greg Michalov CP, COA

After an amputation, you should definitely try to engage in as many of the fun activities that you participated in prior to amputation.  You may need to make some modifications and concessions, but it is healthy for you to stay active and have fun.

In the United States, amusement parks are mandated by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  And while amusement parks are required to comply with the ADA, it is the individual state laws and the equipment manufacturers who provide the specific regulations for each ride’s accessibility standards. Amusement parks use these special guidelines to determine who may ride the rides and may require people with amputee riders to remove their prosthetic devices. If there is a concern that your prosthesis may prevent safety restraints from working as designed (which might keep you from maintaining proper riding posture and/or possibly present a hazard to you or other riders), you may be refrained from riding the ride or asked to remove your prosthesis.

Be Prepared.

It is worthwhile to take the time to get informed of the park’s ride rules and regulations before you arrive at the park.  Here are the Amputee Coalition’s recommendations on preparing for your park visit*:

  • Amusement park customers with limb loss have the extra responsibility of gathering as much information as possible about the park’s rules for riders before committing a great deal of time and money to attend.
  • Parks will outline the restrictions (if any) of wearing prosthetics on each ride. You will often find this type of information in the “Plan Your Visit,” Accessibility,” “Guests with Disabilities” or “Frequently Asked Questions” sections of their Web sites.
  • As a customer, you should be treated with respect and discretion. If, after doing the necessary research into an amusement park’s ride and accessibility policies, you feel you are or have been discriminated against there are both federal and state organizations designed to assist you.

Have Fun! 

Most of all, have fun!  In the event you come across a worker who is unaware of the park’s policies by all means bring it to the attention of “Guest Services”, but try not to let it spoil what should be a fun day!  If you find that you cannot ride all of the rides that you did pre-amputation, find some new rides that let you enjoy the theme park experience with family and friends.  Some concessions may be necessary but there should still be much to enjoy. Who knows, you may get preferred access to the front of the lines!

Greg Michalov CP, COA