Nearly 50 years ago, Phil Avillo
was a 23 year-old Marine lieutenant serving in Vietnam.
A gun shot wound to his
left leg resulted in its amputation above his
Prior to the amputation, Avillo
had been an athlete, playing both lacrosse and football in college, even playing a season for the Camp Pendleton Marine lacrosse team.
"It never occurred to me," Avillo
said, "that I wouldn't lead a relatively normal life after the amputation.
Now 72 years old, Avillo
says, "I did just that."
After the amputation, he
took-up 4-wall handball, racquetball, and biking.
For nearly 25 years he
coached youth athletics (baseball, soccer, basketball) and collegiate lacrosse, both at the club and NCAA D-III levels.
has become an avid exercise swimmer, triple-tracked skied into his
60s, and in his
early 50s began playing golf.
ssionally, Avillo became a college professor, a profession that had him standing many hours each day in front of the classroom.
About 10 years ago, Avillo
added, "I began experiencing difficulties with my prosthesis, specifically my sockets.
They were ill-fitting, causing my walking and activity levels to deteriorate significantly."
A patient man, Avillo
continued to work with his
prosthetist seeking to improve the sockets and to restore walking ability.
No improvement occurred.
Out of frustration, he
decided to look elsewhere.
has been retired from college teaching for 2 years.
"Because of Dennis," he
said, "I am able to enjoy an active and confident retirement.