Van Phillips lost his foot in a water-skiing accident and spent the next two decades designing the Flex-Foot, a high-performance carbon composite prosthetic foot manufactured by the Ossur company and sold under the name of “Cheetah.” Currently, more than 90 percent of Paralympian athletes use Cheetahs. Phillips also founded the Second Wind Foundation to help amputees by providing inexpensive and virtually indestructible prostheses.
In Glimmer: Phillips recounts the long and arduous process of designing a new leg for himself.
Quote: “I probably made 300 prototypes, and a lot of them broke the first time I put my foot down on them. I was curing parts in my kitchen oven, burning myself, falling down from breaking feet. But you keep going.”