Marine, Amputee and Race Car Driver

Marine Staff Sgt. (Ret.) Liam Dwyer

Liam Dwyer joined the Marine Corps twice. His first stint took him to Iraq, where in January 2007, he was lucky to survive an IED explosion just yards away from the Humvee he’d only recently upgraded with armor plating. His tour complete and his body intact, Dwyer retired from the Marines, returned to his hometown of Southbury, Connecticut, and “started a daily life.” Home-school at night, a 40- to 50-hour a week job. And on weekends … car racing. A life-long passion! 

LIAM’S ALIVE DAY

Then fate played an unexpected hand. “So I was at work one day in July 2010,” he recalls, “and this major I deployed within Iraq rings me and says, ‘Hey, Liam! We’ve got a team going to Afghanistan. I want you on it. It had been one of Dwyer’s boyhood dreams to be a Marine. The offer to return proved too tempting to resist. 

However, Liam’s second tour came with dire consequences. During a morning operation, an explosive detonated while Liam and his men entered a dwelling. After too many surgeries to count, Liam was alive and was in intensive care at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. After enduring months and months of additional surgeries, healing, and rehabilitation, Liam’s friend took him to a car race at Daytona for a mini-vacation. It was at this race in 2012 that Liam reconnected with his passion for racing!  

Not too long after Liam identified his goal to return to racing, he fortuitously met John Doonan, director of Mazda Motorsports. During their conversation, Mr. Doonan asked: “What are your goals?” Liam, without hesitation, stated, “I want to be a race car driver.” Doonan didn’t scoff at Dwyer’s ambitions and gave him the opportunity to prove himself. Liam ran a club race at Sebring, for Mazda Motorsports, and by the final laps, he was leading. He ended up finishing second, but he proved he had the talent to race – and the mindset to win. By 2014, Liam had made remarkable progress in his rehabilitation program and was approached by Mr. Doonan to race cars for Mazda contractually.  

THE DECISION TO GET OSSEOINTEGRATION

After racing full seasons in 2016 and 2017, Liam’s future was on hold. During these two seasons as a professional race car driver with an above-knee amputation, the issues of using a socket became evident: limited range of motion, blisters, open sores, and a lack of confident suspension. Liam shares a story of completing a race in Texas during which his prosthesis fell off. His solution – Osseointegration!

It has been just over two years since Liam received Integrum’s OPRA™ Implant System. He is overwhelmed and could not be more impressed with the control and confidence the OPRA™ Implant System provides him with his prosthesis. 

He has no doubt he has made the right choice! He is currently working with race team engineers to develop some necessary components to add to his prosthesis to dampen vibrations and enhance proprioception to the clutch pedal. He has diligently worked through the OPRA™ Implant System rehabilitation protocols following the surgery with a clear objective: Get back to the track!