Zionsville amputee Dave Rusie runs for 1st time in 40 years with new prosthetic ankle

Man returns to running, golf

ZIONSVILLE, Ind. - A man who lost his leg when he was just a teenager is now able to run on his own after 40 years thanks to an innovative prosthetic made in Zionsville.

Dave Rusie, 64, was 19 when he was forced to have his left leg amputated just below the knee after a crash.

"I was home from college for the weekend. A friend of mine said, it was a beautiful Spring day, and he said, 'Hey, you want to ride my motorcycle?' and I said, 'Sure,'" Rusie remembers. "I was in my hometown, two blocks from home and a drunk hit me broadside going about 75 miles an hour. I should have been killed."

Since then, Rusie has had a dozen different prosthetics, but most were so ill-fitting and painful that he could hardly stand in them.

About a month ago, Rusie met Matthew Habecker at his new Indiana Institute for Prosthetics in Zionsville, where Habecker makes one-of-a-kind prototypes for customers.

He handcrafted a new ankle prosthetic for Rusie, with encouraging results.

"He was outside walking, and the slow walk turned into faster walk, and the next thing I'm seeing is him entering into a slow jog," Habecker said. "It was just a really, really neat moment for me as a clinician."

"I said, 'Wow, that didn't even hurt,'" Rusie said.

Now that he's running again on his new prototype socket, Rusie has a new goal -- beating his brother at golf. 

"See how (the ankle) turns? There's a pivot in there. That's what hopefully will improve my golf game," Rusie said. "I haven't played golf this well for 40 years. I quit playing for a long time, so it's really been a blessing."
 

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