'Rob Murphy experimenting
with prototype dive legs
only 4 months after his accident!!!'
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Dive Buddies Part I

My brother, Josh, and I were on a rare weekend home together and desperately needed a dive fix. We decided to check out the new artificial reef made from bridge rubble.
“I heard it’s in 20 feet of water straight off the beach in Juno”, I said.
“Great! Let’s do a beach dive and swim out”, he replied.
“You’re on!” I said.
The sun was high when we got there, and you could see the outline of the reef through the clear blue water we had thanks to the nearby Gulf Stream.
“Looks like a long swim”, one of us said.
“Yea, no biggie”, said the other.
It was a long swim, but we didn’t care. We had been Free Diving together since he was 6 years old and I was 9 and we were in great shape. We communicated non-verbally with hand signals, gestures, and head nods.  We anticipated each others moves and worked as a team.
The dive was fun and it felt good to stretch my lungs with some shallow free diving. We didn’t go to spear fish, but had our custom built Hawaiian slings with us for protection.
On the way back, I looked up and saw a big outboard headed right at us on full plane. It was pretty far away so I pointed it out to my bro and we just swam harder. The driver of the boat was scanning the beach and didn’t see us.  As the blue and white hull screamed toward us, we put our slings on top of our 6 foot spears and waved them to get his attention. He still didn’t see us! Now my adrenaline hit me like a hammer.
”Let’s go!!”, I said, and  we started swimming harder, but the boat kept veering toward the beach and was still heading strait at us! We were getting too out of breath to dive for very long. My bro signaled me that we needed a couple breaths and that we should dive to get below the props as the boat barreled down. I was terrified, the boat was almost on top of us. No time for breaths… here we go… I took a deep breath and… wait!! He turned sharply at the last second!! 
My heart was pounding in my chest. The guy pulled a quick u-turn came over and yelled at us.
“I barely saw you guys!” he yelled. “You look like a couple coconuts in the water!”
 Well, truthfully, he was right. We should have taken a flag, we just didn’t think the reef was that far out.
“We are never diving without a flag, ever again!” I said when I caught my breath.
“Yea, that could have been bad”, said Josh.
Well, that happened to us about 20 years ago, before I even became a prosthetist.
Fast forward to 2009… I get a phone call from Orthopedic Trauma surgeon and fellow dive buddy, Dr. Chaim Arlosoroff.
“Matt, Dr. Misquith asked me to call you about a guy that was traumahawked in the other day. He was diving and was run over by a boat.  He lost both his legs. We thought you would be the best guy to help him.” He said.
The young man’s name was Rob Murphy. I called his parents to coordinate meeting them. Not to worry, they were practially living at St. Mary’s right outside the ICU. I rushed over.
Rob’s Mom and girlfriend looked like they hadn’t slept. I sat with them for a while and talked with them about what to expect for recovery, possible outcomes, timeframes… the usual stuff.
The ICU Nurses thought Rob needed to rest and wasn’t ready for my counseling yet. Rob heard this from his room and started shouting that he wanted to meet me. Wow, this kid was gutsy.
Rob lay in the hospital bed with tubes every which way. He was pale and in pain, still he reached out and shook my hand.
“Thanks for coming”, he said. “Will I be able to walk again?”
Just like that. He wanted to know right away.
“Easy Killer”, I said. “Let me take a look.” I still didn’t know where his amputations were exactly. It was with great relief that I saw bandages going down below his knees.
“You are not only going to walk again, Rob”, I said, “You are going to dive again.”
You could feel the collective sigh of relief throughout the room.
Something struck me when I looked down at Rob that day; he reminded me of my little brother at that age. “Wow, that could have been me or Josh”, I thought.
I felt a kinship right away with Rob and decided on the spot that I would get this kid diving one way or another. I met his Dad, Bob, outside later and made a promise to him that I would donate special dive legs to get this kid going again.
“I’m from New Jersey”, he said with a smile. “so I am going to hold you to that.”
“You won’t have to, Bob, but let me just get him walking first”, I replied.


Read Dive Buddies Part II


  • Dive Buddies Part I
  • Dive Buddies Part I