Shay Powers

At 20 years old, Shay Powers was ready to take his passion for welding and turn it into a career. He was working toward his Associate in Welding Science degree and had three different certifications to back his skills.

After being introduced to the trade in junior high, Shay discovered he loved working with his hands—the more he perfected welding, the more he was inspired to follow his dreams to become a journeyman.

Eager, he jumped on his first opportunity for employment at a metal fabrication shop. His newly earned certifications were still in transit, so until they arrived, Shay’s employer asked that he stay on painting and grinding duties.

“I was 10 days on the job,” Shay begins. “I was OK with doing the painting, I was just listening to orders and wanted to make a good impression.”

So, when he was told to get on the side of a large set of stairs that was being moved by a forklift, he didn’t question. His task was to stand next to a 5-foot tall, 3,000-pound set of stairs and paint the side.

“So, I got on the other side,” he explains, exhaling deeply as he regains control of the emotion in his voice, “and the operator lowered the forks too much.”

Regrettably, the stairs were not strapped to the forks, and the unit began to shift. Shay quickly backed away, but his hands, which he had instinctively put in front of his body to stable the stairs, were pulled down underneath, crushing and ripping the fingers of his right hand.

Shay recalls the despair he felt when he returned home from the hospital. “I saw my games and guitar and my hope was just gone,” he says. “I didn’t know if I could do anything. Amputation really gives you a sense of your own mortality and affects every aspect of your life.”

On top of the emotional rollercoaster, Shay was in pain. His remaining nubs were extremely sensitive. Even hitting them against his other fingers could cause enough anguish to elicit a few choice words.

Finding A Way, Physically and Mentally

It was at Shay’s last appointment with his surgeon when it suddenly struck him—he remembered a Naked Prosthetics (NP) video he’d seen on his Facebook feed the year before. The video showed NP Ambassador Matt Finney riding a motorcycle. Shay had stopped to watch because he knew the amount of grip required to control a bike and was impressed it could be done with finger prostheses.

“I showed my surgeon the video. He hadn’t heard of NP and didn’t think I’d have much chance of insurance approval because it’s a such a new device,” Shay shares. “But I knew I needed to push for it, I needed to do this for me.”

A month later, Shay was overjoyed to report back that he had gained approval, and that his NP custom PIPDriver was in production. Shay’s surgeon was impressed, happy to have a solution to recommend to future patients.

Working with his care team at Hanger Clinic, Shay was measured, fit, and assessed to make sure he had the best outcomes possible. As for Shay’s color choice, it was instant.
“I’ve always been a big fan of the black carbon fiber. You can wear it with sweats or a tuxedo and it will look good,” he laughs.

At the same time Shay was healing physically and getting ready to receive his prosthetic finger, he was working toward internal healing as well. Shay experienced depression, panic attacks, and nightmares in the months following his amputation.

“At that point, not having a finger was the easiest part,” says Shay. “So, I found a therapist, and it really helped. I discovered I had PTSD and was finally able to get a grasp on all of my emotions.”

Luckily, Shay also has a wonderful support group of family members and his girlfriend, Mel.

As he progressed mentally, Shay also began regaining near-full function of his right hand, thanks to his device. He re-enrolled in school, practicing using trade tools while wearing his PIPDriver. At home, he was thrilled to be able to tackle everyday tasks such as using zippers and buttons and opening and closing containers and doors.

One of his favorite triumphs? “Opening that one drawer under the oven!” he laughs.

More seriously, Shay does daily heavy commuting, and being able to grasp the steering wheel, handle his water bottle, and adjust the radio are big benefits of wearing his device. For leisure time, it’s a relief to be able to game again, and pick up his guitar. The cage-like structure of the PIPDriver also protects his ultra-sensitive nub.

“I have so much more confidence messing with my tools, even playing catch with my dad. It feels really good,” says Shay.

Getting back to welding is of paramount importance to Shay. In addition to more college, he continues to put theory to practice and recently completed a BBQ grill as a gift to his father.

“I love my PIPDriver,” says Shay. “My family loves it; they love how it makes me feel. My friends think it is so cool. When I talk about it and tell my story, I realize what I love the most is that this prosthetic has given me a happy ending to this awful chapter.”

Shay wants to tell other finger and partial hand amputees, “Don’t go through it alone. Don’t even for a minute think you can face this by yourself. And don’t be afraid to share your tale, it can help you get through. You can even find me on the Facebook support group page and message me. Just please don’t do it alone.”

Special thanks to Shay’s sister, Haley Powers, for the photography.

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Jeanie McGarvey | Advocate

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

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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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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 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

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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

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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

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Nelisiwe Nxumalo | Agent

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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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