Nick Armstrong

Nick is an active 26-year-old male with five proximal phalanx amputations. His injury occurred in 2012 on the job as a welder. While operating a steel roller, both hands were pulled into the machine, causing severe crushing injuries and degloving to both hands. He spent a month in the hospital undergoing dozens of surgeries, including skin grafts, joint fusing on his left hand, and an unsuccessful replantation of his right fifth finger. The medical team was unsure if Nick would have any use of his hands considering the level of trauma, tissue damage, and structure loss. But after months of therapy, Nick surpassed expectations and regained some function and range of motion from his residual digits. At the time, there were no functional finger prostheses on the market that were suitable for Nick’s required level of activity, strength, and use.

Nick’s primary objectives were to be able to fully grasp objects with confidence, to return to work as a welder and auto mechanic, and to be able to continue his hobbies, which include maintaining his and his wife’s land and horses. His residual digits allowed him to hold objects, but without a firm grip. He was able to lift a hammer but unable to swing or control it. The loss of fingers on his right hand also greatly diminished his ability to perform the fine motor tasks required in his work. Like many people who have experienced disfigurement of the hands, Nick’s self-esteem and confidence had also plummeted. He stopped engaging in handshakes and would try to hide his hands from view. He states, “It may not matter to them but in my mind I’m thinking ‘I’m different, they’re staring at me.'” He notes that even interacting with a cashier for a financial transaction caused him serious distress.

As of February 2019, Nick has been wearing four MCPDrivers™ on his right hand for over three years. He has returned to work as an auto mechanic and welder, and uses the devices every day for at least eight hours. Nick uses his devices for power grasps and object handling, as well as for fine motor skills such as automotive wiring jobs. The device offers the added benefit of residuum protection, which is often a significant factor for those with finger amputations who have hypersensitivity. He states that his right hand with the prostheses is more capable than his left hand, with its injured structures and scar tissue. Nick shares that the emotional impact has been just as important to him as the functional ability he regained. When he introduces himself and shakes hands he says he, “used to be the guy with the missing fingers, and now he is the guy with the cool hand.” He and his wife related that when he is out socializing, he has now become the center of attention in a positive way because of his prostheses, and even lets people try them on for fun. He states, “Yeah they’re staring and they’re curious, but it’s more of a positive thing for me because I know they’re thinking, ‘Wow that’s cool. What is that?’ It’s positive. It takes a very negative situation and puts a very positive spin on it.” Nick’s wife says, “Since Nick received his prostheses, his self-esteem is back to where it was before his injury.”

Despite the high demands that Nick puts on his devices, they have only experienced two part replacements. The breaks were both at the adduction/abduction connection point on the back plate, which is where the highest forces are transmitted in heavy lifting. Naked Prosthetics designed him a strengthened back plate, which he is using now. When sitting down with Nick, it becomes very apparent how comfortable he is with his devices. Without looking, he picks things up and drums his fingers on the table.

The devices have become a part of him and he is able to do tasks now without consciously thinking about it. He can also feel when he has a hold on an object. “I know when I’m grabbing something, I know when I’m moving each finger.” Nick continues to grow stronger with his devices. “I know its capabilities now, too. I still find new things that I can do with it, new ways to pick things up, or open something. It’s definitely become a part of me.” He plans on getting a fifth device for his residual digit on his left hand. Today, Nick is an ambassador for Naked Prosthetics and attends many conferences. His confidence is restored, and he is often asked by kids if he is a superhero.

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Jeanie McGarvey | Advocate

Jeanie is based out of Ohio where she wears four PIPDrivers, three MCPDrivers, and one ThumbDriver.

Read her story here.

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Jaime Perkins | Ambassador

Jaime Perkins injured four of his fingers while working with a jointer in his workshop in 2020. A well-respected builder, he joins Naked Prosthetics with his own audience of over 606,000 YouTube channel subscribers for Perkins Builder Brothers, a company started by his architect father, that he shares with his brother, Erik. Jaime joined as a NPChampion Ambassador after experiencing for himself the functionality afforded by the MCPDrivers. Jaime lives in North Carolina with his wife Jaime and their three children.

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Matt Finney | Ambassador

At age 36, Matt lost several digits due to vascular occlusion. After a several-year struggle that led him down a dark and troubled path, Matt found his way to Naked Prosthetics to become the first to wear each of the three custom, body-driven devices together: one PIPDriverTM, one MCPDriverTM, and one ThumbDriverTM. Because of his directness and candor, Matt has become a popular addition to conferences and speaking engagements that Naked Prosthetics participates in. Matt now owns his own successful concrete finishing business, something he says wouldn’t have been possible without the technology behind his devices.

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Moises Aramburo | Ambassador

Moises spends his time traveling between California and Mexico. In the Summer of 2012, Moises and his friend took their truck out after a tropical storm in Mexico to assess the local damage. While towing a vehicle stuck in the flood, they decided to try something new – boogie boarding on the flooded streets. An accident with the rope caused four of his fingers on his right hand to be torn off. Moises wears a four-digit GripLock finger with socketing from the Ossur team.

GLF Designed + Manufactured by Naked Prosthetics. Socket Fabrication by Hanger Clinic and Össur.

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Natasha Baggett | Ambassador

Natasha lost two of her fingers to a woodworking accident at home in 2019. A beef and poultry farmer, artist, and mother to five girls, Natasha wears two of our MCPDrivers and was a beta tester for our Conductive Tip and Rose Gold finish. Since her accident, she has devoted much of her time and energy to the amputee community, sharing her journey and helping other amputees find acceptance and purpose from within. For those reasons and more, Natasha is a welcome addition to the NPChampion Ambassador family and a warm and engaging advocate for the amputee community.

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Nick Armstrong | Ambassador

As a beta tester for Naked Prosthetics, Nick Armstrong was instrumental in the development of the MCPDriver. At the time Nick suffered a workplace injury in 2012 that left him with amputations on five of his fingers, prosthetic options that would allow him to get back to work as a welder and auto mechanic and back to taking care of his farm didn’t exist. In 2015 Naked Prosthetics began testing the MCPDriver, and Nick provided the necessary real-life testing and feedback to assure the devices’ performance in harsh environments. Nick lives in Illinois and speaks alongside NP regularly to groups about his story and the functionality and confidence his devices provide.

Trevor Thibodeux | Ambassador

Born and raised in Louisiana, Trevor is a calm soul with a southern charm that draws you in. Trevor’s left hand was injured on the job in late 2020, repairing a machine that feeds, cuts, and seals velcro. While fixing the machine the operator started up the machine and the blade took his middle and ring finger, cutting the tendon on his index finger, and crushing his pinkie. As our newest NPChampion Ambassador, he wears two MCPDrivers and is motivated by the thought of helping someone like himself no longer be afraid of life.

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Ashley Umbaugh | Advocate

A mother to two young children, it is important for her to not miss a thing. Outdoor enthusiast and whim taker, Ashley, was trying something new, riding a motorcycle. In the Summer of 2021 she joined her husband on the road when she lost control of the bike. In an attempt to save her leg from being crushed, she threw her hand to rest on the band which sucked her fingers into the sprocket and amputated her middle finger. Her device has given her more than function, it has given her hope. With the help of her MCPDriver, she wants to spread hope to everyone in this community.

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John Powers | Advocate

John is an artist based out of New York. He wears one ThumbDriver and one MCPDriver.

Read his story here.

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Kenneth Brunke | Advocate

Father of four, Marine Corps Veteran, and woodworker, Ken, lost his left thumb, index finger, ring and pinkie finger in a table saw accident mid 2021. Ken’s three-digit MCPDriver and ThumbDriver has allowed him to turn his woodworking skills from a hobby into a full business. His unabashed willingness to share his story through humor and charm are a welcome addition to the NPChampions program.

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Michael Stanton | Advocate

Michael brings energy and positivity to every conversation he has and is sure to leave you with a smile. A splinter was all it took. Early 2019 Michael was working when a small piece of wood lodged itself into his hand. Unfortunately, after removing it the wound became infected and required his right thumb to be amputated. With the help of his ThumbDriver, Michael hasn’t let this slow him down!

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Stephanie Brassard | Advocate

Stephanie lives in Alberta, Canada with her husband and is passionate about inspiring other amputees to know that losing fingers isn’t the end and that they can overcome challenges that they may face. Self proclaimed “accident prone” sawmill worker and physical trainer, Stephanie, wasn’t surprised when she crushed her fingers. In November, 2019 she went to grease a machine when she noticed it was still on. Before she could pull away it had grabbed onto her hand, removing her left thumb and pointer finger. Stephanie wears one MCPDriver and a ThumbDriver. She wants to help inspire other amputees to know that losing fingers is not the end and that they too can overcome challenges.

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Tammy Stolle | Advocate

Tammy is a court reporter in South Dakota and wears one MCPDriver.

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Alycia Kerrigan-Mize | Agent

College student and competitive swimmer Alycia lost a majority of her pinkie finger in an accident at only 15 years old. With the use of her PIPDriver, she’s rediscovered her confidence and uses her platforms to share her story and inspire others.

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John Hillard | Agent

Retired Navy Veteran, John is settled in Noblesville, Indiana. After losing his thumb in a circular saw accident, he regained functionality with his ThumbDriver and is back to creating beautiful woodworking pieces.

John Thompson | Agent

John wears two MCPDrivers. Born and raised in Brandon, Mississippi, he lives with his wife and daughter and enjoys staying active outdoors.

Nelisiwe Nxumalo | Agent

Nelisiwe wears two MCPDrivers. An adventurous and captivating woman, she travels the world sharing snaps along the way.

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Darrel Comeau | Ambassador

Darrel joins us from Alberta, Canada after losing much of his index finger in a workplace accident late in 2017. He was checking a fit up for one of his crew members when an improperly tacked steel beam dropped on his finger. A jack of many trades, Darrel is not only a construction site foreman but also a gifted photographer. He wears an MCPDriver. As some of his biggest fans, Naked Prosthetics looks forward to highlighting his work and his story.

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