In 2004, former Marine Dan Lasko tragically lost his left leg in an explosion in Afghanistan. But that hasn’t stopped Lasko; he’s been a dedicated triathlete ever since. But he’s never had a durable leg that could match the strength of his right leg until now. The new leg Lasko would be testing, “had a jet-black foot with a nonslip tread on its sole, which he described as “awesome” even before entering the water.” His excitement was, “palpable from the first whiff of chlorine.”.
Waterproof prosthetics have existed for decades but none have been as functional or effective as this new prosthetic. The designer, Todd Goldstein, “was enlisted for the project in part because of his experience with 3-D printing. On a Friday night before the swim test, he programmed a 3-D printer to make a crucial part of the prosthesis: a downward-pointing triangle of nylon and plastic located at calf height that provides some propulsion but, with cone-shaped holes that lets some water through, is not overly forceful.”
The cost of the prosthetic will eventually range from 2,000 to 5,000 dollars. However, amputees will most likely have to pay out of pocket, “Most insurance companies don’t provide coverage for recreational prostheses, Dr. Crandell (the medical director of the amputee program at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston) said, ‘even though ultimately getting back to sports is best physically and for psychological recovery.’ ”
This new breakthrough in the field of recreational prosthetics could be revolutionary for thousands of amputees for years to come.