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Mayo Clinic helps save Mankato man’s life with 3D printed skull

Roby’s recovery process is far from over, but he considers himself a walking and talking miracle
Published: Jun. 3, 2021 at 4:57 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 3, 2021 at 7:24 PM CDT
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MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) — Imagine nearly losing your life in the blink of an eye. That was John Roby on June 3, 2020, when he was in a motorcycle crash.

“I didn’t think I would be here. I am truly the luckiest man alive,” Roby said.

Roby suffered extensive injuries to his entire face, and that’s when the Mayo Clinic came in.

Doctors and a team of engineers created models of Roby’s facial bones using a computer program that used 3D printing to create a skull.

“I was basically one of the first people, if not the first person, that they used this modeling to reconstruct my face,” Roby said.

Roby says he is forever grateful to the doctors who let him live to see another day, and for making sure his grandchildren knew that he was still their grandpa.

“When I look in the mirror, I recognize myself. When I shave, I recognize myself and when my grandkids see me they say ‘hi Grandpa.’ That’s an affirmation to me that I look like who I am,” Roby said.

His recovery process is far from over, but he considers himself a walking and talking miracle.

“Considering where a lot of people thought I would be — that would be not here in this room, not driving over to the Y to do physical therapy,” Roby said.

One year later, Roby’s become an inspiration to others.

“It’s not an easy journey, but everybody’s journey is a little bit different. I would say to anybody who has an injury, whether it is emotional or physical or spiritual injury, prayer and friends are the best allies you can have,” Roby said.

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