Meet Our Challengers

Taylor Morris, Navy Veteran, QL+ Challenger

About Taylor Morris

Taylor joined the Navy right out of high school in 2007. He went through extensive training as an Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Technician and became expert in explosives, diving, parachuting, as well as the tactical skills of a combat fighter. He was trained to render safe all type of explosives including conventional, improvised, underwater, chemical, biological and nuclear. He was deployed to a remote region of the Kandahar Province in the winter of 2012.

In May 2012 he stepped on an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) that blew off parts of all four of his limbs. He says he went from being one of the most independent people out there to 100% dependent on others. It took a toll. With courage and determination, he focused on the future and on what he needed to do to improve so he can live the life he and his sweetheart had planned.

He worked as hard at training his body and mind in this new situation as he had at becoming an EOD expert. He truly lives the central theme of his Navy training – Constantly Improve Your Situation.

Taylor returned to his home in Cedar Falls, Iowa 24 months after he stepped on the IED. To everyone’s amazement, he walked through the honor guard as they saluted him. He estimated he was 50% of the way to where he wants to be.

“Hey, I have an idea. Let’s try it. Let’s make things better.” These are words you often hear from Taylor. In creating solutions for himself he is a trailblazer, bringing about solutions for others. As advancements are made by QL+ on his behalf, they can also contribute to the quality of life for others. Taylor has confidence in his future and married his girlfriend Danielle. “Keep in mind that it could always be worse. Keep trying and you’ll find a way to do it.”

Taylor has given QL+ specific requests that will help improve the quality of his life and can serve as prototypes for other veterans in need.

Challenge #1: Socket Cooling System

Amputees generate more heat at their core and their residual limbs because there is less skin surface area for the blood to flow through to cool the remaining parts of the body. This is especially true for Taylor, who lost all four limbs. His current prostheses create an enclosed heated environment around his residual limbs, especially since he uses prosthetic liners made of thickly padded silicone material, which create an extra layer of heat. This leads to overheating and excessive sweating, especially during activity. A Cal Poly graduate is finalizing a second-generation socket cooling system prototype for Taylor resulting from an original design as part of his senior engineering design program.

Challenge #2: Quick Disconnect

Taylor’s other Challenge is the difficulty he has while trying to change legs for the different activities he participates in, especially since he must use his prosthetic hand. A fifth-year Cal Poly graduate student designed and developed a mechanism to provide Taylor the ability to easily detach and reattach prosthetic components to his leg sockets. This will allow him to quickly switch between different attachments such as running legs, swimming legs and cycling legs without the added time and trouble of removing sockets. Although this challenge was presented by Taylor, this product should also serve as a practical solution for many active amputees.