(02/19/13) - A one of a kind invention is helping some wounded war veterans do
things they never dreamed possible. It was designed, in part, by a young soldier
who refused to say "I can't".
Making routes safe for soldiers and supplies was Army Specialist Eduard Lychik's job in Afghanistan, "we looked for IED's, we cleared houses."
Then one day, in a rocket attack, he lost his entire left leg. Since the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan started, more than 1,500 U.S. troops have become amputees.
Prosthetist Bob Kuenzi works at The Center for the Intrepid, one of the U.S. military's premier training facilities for amputees.
He says the goal for most is to walk, "in Ed's case, he decided he wanted to run. I would not put too much hope in that."
But Eduard would not give up hope. So he and bob came up with a hip prosthesis. It has no joints, just the hip fitting, a pylon, and a running blade.
Just three weeks after the first functional version was ready, Eduard ran the Tough Mudder. The Mudder is a 12 mile course with dozens of obstacles. Since then, he has run two half marathons. His less-than-eight-minute mile time is better than what most people with two legs run.
Bob, who as it turns out is an amputee himself, is glad the soldier never gave up, "you can do it if you, if you put the effort in."
Right now, Eduard is focused on his next running goal - a full marathon. "I could have died in Afghanistan, but I lived. So I really have to take advantage of this opportunity and take advantage of life now."
The hip prosthesis weighs about nine pounds. Bob and Eduard continue to tweak and improve it after every race. Bob says other vets, even children with bone cancer who face an amputation, might also be able to use this.
ABC12 Main Station