The Amputee Father And Grandfather Who Inspired The Innovative M+D Crutch – Mobility+Designed

Papa Dan, the motivation behind the M+D Crutch, enjoys spending time with his grandkids

Papa Dan, the motivation behind the M+D Crutch, enjoys spending time with his grandkids

Meet Dan

At Mobility+Designed, our mission is to make crutch-assisted mobility comfortable and functional for everyone who requires mobility assistance. But there is one important man who gave our co-founder the idea to create the M+D Crutch in the first place.

As an article in Fast Company describes it:

When our co-founder, Max Younger, was a child, his dad, Dan, was always on crutches. A serious childhood injury meant that his father was constantly in-and-out of the hospital, getting surgeries (his first at the young age of 14) and knee replacements.

“They (the traditional underarm crutches he used) caused irritation, bruising, and nerve damage in his hands,” Max remembers. “He was never one to complain, but you could see it, and if you asked, he’d tell you.”

After years of seeing his dad on and off crutches, Younger–an industrial design student–started noodling in his spare time on a design that would help his father deal with the wrist and arm pain that come from extended crutch use.

Max Makes An Idea A Reality: A Comfortable Crutch

Then, in 2008, Max got a call–his father had a staph infection. His leg had to be amputated. And, as an above-the-knee amputee, Dan would be a semi-permanent crutch user for the rest of his life.

Max knew there had to be a better way than what his dad had experienced with traditional (axillary) crutches. So, Max teamed up with his wife, Liliana, to found Mobility+Designed, a company that wants to bring crutch design into the Space Age – not just for those having an above the knee amputation, but for anyone living with a short-term injury or long-term condition.

After evaluating different types of crutches, years of visualizing, proto-typing and testing, Dan helped Max fine tune the M+D Crutch before its launch in 2016. The M+D Crutch, is a mobility device that uses the forearms and elbows instead of hands, wrists and armpits to support the users’ body weight.

When reflecting back on their collaboration together, Dan said, “I had a voice that was true to what Max needed. I was someone that actually had to use the crutches. Everyone who uses them, regardless of the reason they need crutches, has different goals. As a retired amputee, I was only representing one version of that.”

Ultimately, the biggest testament to the superior design of the M+D Crutch is probably the man it was built for, Max’s father Dan Younger. “With Max’s M+D Crutches, my wrists and shoulders aren’t as fatigued,” he says. “Everyday tasks are much easier. I can walk farther and easier without getting tired.

Dan Continues To Live His Life, Freely

And that’s been crucial as Dan also became a grandpa a few years after his amputation. He embraced the role of “Papa” whole-heartedly, even taking on childcare for his two grandsons, August and Oliver.

 “I never even thought twice about it,” Dan said. “I wasn’t working; Max and Liliana were needing a babysitter. I didn’t know if I would do it, because I haven’t had that kind of responsibility in years. I kind of got the rhythm of it, though. Now I can’t imagine not doing it — it’s the best, absolutely the best.”

A below-the-knee amputation hasn’t stopped Papa Dan from keeping up with his grandkids, thanks in part to the M+D Crutch

A below-the-knee amputation hasn’t stopped Papa Dan from keeping up with his grandkids, thanks in part to the M+D Crutch

Every weekday, Dan picks up his grandkids from school and daycare, and “we just play,” he said — mostly with Legos, August’s favorite toy. They also enjoy swimming and taking walks together with grandma Robin (or as the boys call her, Bobin).

Dan, wears a prosthetic leg and utilizes the M+D Crutch when needed to keep up with his energetic grandsons.

Even though Dan had been on and off crutches for his whole adult life and was thus constantly aware of his surroundings, as to not lose his balance, he said “It was scary in the beginning. When you have two legs, you have leverage. As an amputee, you fall, a lot. I did for a while. The hardest part was getting used to holding a baby when you can’t feel or see one of your limbs.”

Now that August is older, he’s become more mindful, too. “He understands that he can’t run away from me,” Dan said. “If we take a walk, he’ll have to wait for me, or Robin will have to go ahead so she can keep up with him. He understands I can’t jump; I can’t run.”

But Dan doesn’t let his disability limit his daily life. He knew he’d find a way to do all of the things he needed to again, like changing diapers and cooking meals. There was a slight learning curve, but even as an amputee, Dan said the second time around was easier, mainly because of the tools he has available, like his prosthetic leg and the M+D Crutch.

“Now that I have the M+D Crutches, at least I’m more comfortable and my shoulders and wrists don’t hurt.”

Papa Dan using his M+D Crutches to chase after oldest grandson, August

Papa Dan using his M+D Crutches to chase after oldest grandson, August

Dan utilizes the M+D Crutch mostly in the mornings and evenings and when he heads to the pool with August and Oliver. Recently, Dan’s family went to Disney World and walked over 13 miles over the course of three days.

Papa Dan spends time with his oldest grandson, August

Papa Dan spends time with his oldest grandson, August

By the end of each day, Dan recalls thinking “I’m ready to put on the crutches. They’re just a part of my life — I can’t imagine not having them. I can’t imagine where things would be.”

For Dan, and likely for many others, one of his goals was to move around more comfortably, especially when chasing after toddlers.

“It’s a much better tool,” Dan said of the M+D Crutch.

“It gives me less pain, less intrusion. I don’t have to think about it as much. You have to learn how to use it, because it’s a different mindset, but it’s so much easier than traditional underarm crutches.”

Could The M+D Crutch Be Right For You?

The ergonomic design of the M+D Crutch allows you to live comfortably and conveniently, for short-term or long-term use.

See how the M+D Crutch compares to different types of crutches, including traditional underarm and typical forearm crutches.

Start living more comfortably today!

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