Plainview Biz Helps Swimmers ‘Return’

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Dan Lasko (right) is a competitive triathlete despite losing his left leg below the knee as a U.S. Marine serving in Afghanistan in 2004.

CPC (Composite Prototyping Center), a commercial-grade advanced composite manufacturing company based in Plainview, joined forces with a Hicksville prosthetic firm and Northwell Health to design the first 3D printed amphibious prosthetic leg in an effort dubbed, “The Return.”

Northwell Health announced the creation of the prosthetic, the Fin, which will give amputee swimmers the ability to navigate from land into the water and back. For 33-year-old Marine Corps veteran Dan Lasko, whose leg was amputated below-the-knee after his vehicle hit an explosive device while serving in Afghanistan in 2004, the prosthetic is truly a life changer.

“The Fin is greatly improving my quality of life and allows me to return to my love of swimming,” said Lasko, who has completed six marathons and more than 30 triathlons around the country since his injury. “I recently got back in the pool with my two young sons and for the first time was able to dive into the pool with them.”

The development of this pioneering prosthetic was spearheaded by Northwell Ventures, which evaluates, develops and commercializes ideas that originate with the organization’s physicians, researchers and other employees.

The Fin was designed and printed by Northwell Health’s 3D printing experts, working in collaboration with Eschen Prosthetic and Orthotic Laboratories, a prosthetic design firm headquartered in Hicksville, along with Plainview’s CPC. In addition to The Fin, Northwell and Eschen are in discussions to commercialize the development of this product and other customized prosthetic devices for anyone who has lost a limb, solving a common problem for thousands of amputees.

“The prosthetic market is characterized by one-size-fits-all solutions,” said Thomas Thornton, senior vice president of Northwell Ventures. “For amputees with a passion for swimming, there was no device out there that was truly amphibious and allowed them to really swim. We made something that didn’t exist and solved a specific problem in a very spectacular way.”

Thornton said Northwell hopes to develop other customized solutions that will enable the estimated 1.9 million people have lost a limb nationwide—a number that is expected to double by 2050—to resume active lifestyles. And beginning last week, Northwell launched “The Return,” a campaign to educate amputees.

“The Fin attaches to a standard prosthetic with ease, allowing the amputee to enter and exit the water without changing prosthetics,” said Todd Goldstein, PhD, manager director of Northwell Ventures 3D Printing Laboratory, who designed and fabricated the prosthetic. “My hope is that this device creates unforeseen opportunities for amputees everywhere.”

Visit www.northwell.edu/thereturn to learn more about “The Return” campaign.

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