Seattle firefighter who lost toes in accident back on job thanks to an amazing technology

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

GIG HARBOR, Wash. — In July 2013, Seattle firefighter Matt Runte was riding his motorcycle when a car ran a red light and T-boned him.

The accident severely injured his foot, to the point he had to have two toes amputated.

“My motorcycle boot was blown out at the forefoot because it had been crushed,” Runte said Wednesday.

Matt is an avid runner and, with this injury, he faced the prospect of never being able to run again or fight fires.  However, Matt never gave up hope and while in the hospital, he learned of a technology that might solve a lot of his problems.

His wife researched a device called an intrepid dynamic exoskeletal orthosis or IDEO.

It’s a device that is essentially a brace that is custom fit to Matt.  It simply acts as a support for damaged muscles and tendons, allowing the patient to use their leg as if it weren’t injured.

Data pix.

The groundbreaking technology was invented by Ryan Blanck, the IDEO program director at Hanger Clinic.  He developed it about five years ago to help wounded veterans.

"People who are going back to combat and kicking down doors again with a device, where they would normally have an amputation, and they're back jumping out of helicopters, climbing mountains in Afghanistan," Blanck said.

He has now brought the technology to the civilian world and over the past five years, he has helped around 700 people get back on their feet, including Runte.

He can now walk normally and is even back to running and firefighting.

"I hope that awareness is increased and people know that this high function is there and you can do everything you want to do," Runte said.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.