For years, people with missing legs have had to worry about removing their prosthetic appendages just to get into the pool. But new technology is now allowing them to realize their swimming dreams with more ease than ever before. Dan Lasko, a former Marine whose left leg was destroyed in an explosion while being deployed in Afghanistan, is one of the first people to take advantage of the new legs. Although waterproof prosthetic legs have been used and available for years now, none have been able to propel their users through the water. Lasko is part of an experiment to determine the best way to design the new swim-friendly legs. The new prosthetic leg still has some design flaws and most likely won’t be commercially available for another six months, but it promises a lot more functionality for amputees wanting to swim again. As the number of amputees in the United States is expected to double by 2050 due to diabetes and other causes, prosthetic legs like this will become especially important. I’m happy to learn that designers and engineers are finding new ways to make life easier for amputees and help them enjoy their everyday activities. The only bad part is that most insurance companies don’t provide coverage for prosthetic limbs, so amputees have to pay out of pocket. It would be nice to see more coverage extended to people who lose limbs and have to buy prosthetics as a result of war, accidents, or diseases.
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