3D-printed 'fin' helps amputees swim

For the first time in a long time Dan Lasko, a former Marine who lost his left leg below the knee in Afghanistan, can dive back into his love of swimming.

"It feels like I have two legs again in the water, it feels really good," Lasko said. "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, will allow Lasko, a father of two, to swim with his boys, something that was near impossible with a waterproof prosthetic alone. 

The fin is made of nylon. Dr. Todd Goldstein of Northwell Health designed it using a 3D printer. Holes allow water to pass through. Convenience was taken into consideration. 

"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."

Long Island-based Eschen Prosthetic and Orthotic Laboratories manufactures the leg. Certified prosthetist Matt Flynn, an amputee who loves the water, said it is a game-changer.

"From this project, I certainly expected to help somebody but I didn't know in turn it would help myself, as well," Flynn said.

The fin is expected to be available before the end of the summer. The price will range from $2,000 to $7,000, depending on the amputee's existing prosthesis.

The goal of the project was to help veterans. It has already changed Lasko's life for the better.

"I hope that other people, other amputees see this and get in the water and try it out and be able to swim again," Lasko said.