In 2004, Dan Lasko lost his leg below the knee in Afghanistan while serving in the United States Marine Corps. That wouldn’t slow him down, however, as he’s battled through the adversity, and has competed on the Wounded Warrior Amputee football and softball teams, and participated in over 30 triathlons. As if a triathlon isn’t grueling enough, Dan has had to solely rely on his upper-body strength to swim. According to a New York Times Facebook Live post, his wife, Jess, helps him remove his prosthetic before and after the swimming portions of his triathlons. Now, thanks to a new 3D-printed prosthetic “fin”, he, and other amputees, can swim again.
"It feels like I have two legs again in the water, it feels really good," Lasko told FOX 5. "Actually, when I'm swimming I can actually see and feel the water going through the fin. It's pretty amazing."
The fin, which is attached to his prosthesis, is made of nylon. The holes in the design allow water to pass through, and allow the swimmer to propel themselves. Dr. Todd Goldstein of Northwell Health designed it using a 3D printer, and discussed some of the added benefits out of the water.
"You have a hole if you want to wear a flip flop," Dr. Goldstein said. "It also has rubber treads if you don't want to wear a flip flop, so you don't slip on the pool deck."
Swimming is a great, low-impact exercise that can keep athletes and amputees like Dan in shape. However, the most important thing about his new prosthetic is that it allows him to swim with his kids, Ben and Luke.
The fin is expected to be available to everyone by the end of the summer with a price that ranges from $2,000 to $7,000, depending on the amputee's existing prosthesis.
Watch the video to see Dan use his fin to swim with his kids.