East Coast Orthotic & Prosthetic Patient Advocate Robert Rodriguez (an amputee) practices basketball with Amityville's Ryan Murphy (center) recently fitted with his new prosthetic. Vincent Benenati (right), CEO of East Coast O&P in Deer Park looks on.

While many people made New Year’s resolutions to lose weight and exercise more, Ryan Murphy, a cancer survivor from Amityville, resolved to resume his athletic lifestyle after having his leg partially amputated.

The past several years have been difficult for Murphy, but now that he’s been fitted with a prosthetic limb, he is looking to the future instead of swelling on past challenges. Much of that is thanks to advances in prosthetics.

“So much can be done for amputees of this generation when compared to say, 25 years ago,” said Vincent Benenati, a Certified Orthotist and CEO of East Coast Orthotic & Prosthetic Corporation in Deer Park.

“Computerized, digital prosthetics now offer highly advanced performance and provide a fine quality of life,” he continued. “Still, when a patient is faced with the fact that they are going to lose a limb, especially a young person, they are shocked. They become concerned, perhaps depressed about their future…or not they will have the ability to hold a job, be active, or enjoy recreation.”

As a young man in his 20s, whose contemporaries are full of ambition and future plans, Murphy was confronting these fears. Because of his leg amputation, would he be missing out and facing limitations? But last year, Murphy went through the mentoring of fellow leg amputee Robert Rodriguez of Bay Shore, and was recently fitted with a state-of-the-art prosthetic.

“In a sense, my new top-of-the-line prosthetic became the ‘play toy’ which Santa Claus brought me,” Murphy joked.

His progress and quality of life has vastly improved in a matter of weeks. Ryan is now excited, pumped, and motivated by the opportunities awaiting him going into the New Year. He is determined to look forward embracing his potential, not dwell on the past.

Murphy works as an assistant greenskeeper at the famous Bethpage Black Golf Course. Despite the recent freezing weather, he has been walking the hills and challenging terrain at Bethpage Black as he is thriving with his new leg.

He just signed up for an amputee basketball team, which has been practicing at the YMCA in Bay Shore. Together with his mentor, he is eager to show off his new moves and gyrations on the basketball court, as part of their strategy to win games.

Ryan is looking forward to running competitively. And he is now making plans for a great spring and summer when he can perfect his golf swing on Long Island courses.

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