EAST MEADOW, Long Island (WABC) -- He is a model of inspiration and determination, a Marine who lost a leg while serving in Afghanistan in 2004.
In fact, 6% of injured veterans are amputees.
Dan Lasko, 33, is diving into his future with new confidence.
He's got a new, amphibious prosthetic leg from Northwell Health which he calls a "game changer," especially for an athletic Marine Corps Veteran who loves swimming.
"It's like Michael Phelps in there," Lasko said. "I feel really confident and really fast."
Lasko lost his lower left leg after an IED ambush in Afghanistan 13 years ago.
His wife and two young sons had grown accustomed to daddy taking off his leg before he could get into the water, but not anymore.
"There's no more waiting, when I get to the pool or to the beach, 'hold on, I got to change legs,' now I can just go straight into the water, and have a great time with them," Lasko said.
It's Important to understand that Lasko is just the first of many who will want this type of leg. The cost from Northwell will be determined by the exact needs of each patient.
The research and development came from two Long Island firms. At one of them is a former diver who had lost his left leg too years ago.
"Everyone turned to me and said, 'well you're a swimmer, what do you need to make yours better?'" said Matt Flynn, Eschen Prosthetic and Orthotic Laboratories.
"And I tell you, that the team had a real, emotional impact on that," said Joe Garone, Composite Prototyping Center.
And so researchers at Northwell, using a 3-D printer and a nylon-carbon fiber base, worked for months on the prototype that can be worn in water and on shore, and tweaked for every type of patient.
"It can change how much resistance it has, and therefore that equates to how fast they can swim," said Todd Goldstein, Northwell Health 3-D Printer Researcher.
For this veteran who's competed in 30 triathlons and six marathons since he lost his leg, there couldn't be a better fit.
If you are interested in getting an amphibious leg, it is still in trials, but you can email Northwell Health for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Marine veteran amputee gets amphibious prosthetic leg on Long Island
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