Soldier invents Hip Prosthesis

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Posted: Friday, February 22, 2013 5:32 pm | Updated: 4:42 pm, Wed Jul 3, 2013.

He made a big sacrifice for his country. Now he could be making an even bigger contribution to the medical community.

In tonight's Health Smart, the story of a young soldier who helped design something that's allowing him do what many said could not be done.

Making routes safe for soldiers and supplies. This was Army Specialist Eduard Lychik's job in Afghanistan. "We looked for IED’s, we cleared houses."

Then one day, 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 this. The Hip Prosthesis they designed might not look that special. 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. A 12-mile course with dozens of obstacles. Since then, he's run two half marathons. And his mile time is better than what most people with two legs run. "Under eight minutes."

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 goal running 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 run with the prosthetic.

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