Boy with double-hand transplant wants to play football Nine-year-old Zion Harvey, the world's first child to receive a bilateral hand transplant, throws out the first pitch before the Baltimore Orioles and Texas Rangers baseball in Baltimore, Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2016. (AP Photo/Gail Burton/Dake Kang)
Boy with double-hand transplant wants to play football
Lexile

It's been just over a year since 9-year-old Zion Harvey received a double-hand transplant. Now, what he really wants to do is play football.
 
"I feel happy about my new hands. And I don't feel different. I like now that I can throw a football further than when I didn't have hands," he said during a briefing at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. His mother, doctor and physical therapists joined him. The hospital is where he underwent the 10-hour surgery in July 2015. 
 
The nation's youngest hand transplant patient has been going through extensive rehab to learn how to use his new hands. He lost them and his feet to amputation seven years ago. He had suffered through a serious infection. Now he has leg prosthetics that allow him to walk.
 
In August, the suburban Baltimore boy showed off his new abilities by throwing out the first pitch at an Orioles game.
 
Dr. Scott Levin, team leader of Zion's surgery, said Zion coped with the surgery better than many adults handle simpler procedures.
 
"I've never seen Zion cry," Levin said. "I've never seen him not want to do his therapy. He's just a remarkable human being, let alone child or adult. He has such courage and determination and gives us all inspiration."
 
Zion said his wisdom comes "from the two most amazing people: my mom, and my grandmom," warning his mom: "Don't start tearing up."
 
Twenty-eight people in the U.S. have had hand transplants. Eleven had both hands replaced, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing. Worldwide, close to 100 people have had hand or arm transplants.
 
His mother, Pattie Ray, said it's been a long journey but now she feels like she is living her dream.
 
"It's his dream, but it's mine, too. I'm just living through him, and I'm just here to support him in any way and help him do whatever it is that he wants to do, if it's a baseball - not a football. Just a baseball."
 
Zion told reporters his mom won't let him try out for football, and tried to counter her argument that it's too dangerous by pointing out he'd be playing against little kids, not professionals. She told him they would discuss it later.
 
"My next goal: convince Mom to let me play football," he said.

Filed Under:  
Assigned 858 times
CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
If Zion lives in Baltimore, why was his operation performed in Philadelphia?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (247)
  • julial-pav
    9/26/2016 - 09:55 a.m.

    I was surprised that only 28 people have had hand transplants in the US, considering how useful medical technology has been over the past few years.

    • grantd-stu
      9/27/2016 - 08:39 a.m.

      I know I was suprised 28 people had hand transplants in the U.S.

  • orlandofb-wil
    9/26/2016 - 09:59 a.m.

    I believe that Zion should be able to play football. This is because he has the same rights as everyone, and if anything, the amputated legs and arms would be a disadvantage rather than an advantage.

    • samj-stu
      9/26/2016 - 04:50 p.m.

      Yes, I agree with you he might not have the same exact hands kids have when they are born but, he should be allowed to play football because he has the same rights as everyone.

  • piersonw-cel
    9/26/2016 - 10:12 a.m.

    9-year-old Zion Harvey received a double-hand transplant over a year ago. All he wants to do now is play football. He's the nation's youngest hand transplant patient. His goal is to convince his mother to let him play football.

  • johanm-stu
    9/26/2016 - 12:05 p.m.

    it is suprising that he has made it that with all the surgerys. it it suprising that he still plays sports

    • grantd-stu
      10/26/2016 - 01:06 p.m.

      I think tou are right it is pretty crazy that he still plays sports.

  • kayleeb-kul
    9/26/2016 - 12:31 p.m.

    It is amazing how such a young boy has the courage to go through these procedures without crying yet. He is working hard to get better so he can finally be a normal boy again and do what he loves. He is taking everything in strides and has come so far to be where he is at! This boy is such a beacon of hope for everyone struggling with injuries like his.

    • abigailo-kul
      9/27/2016 - 07:43 p.m.

      I agree with Kaylee that this little boy has been through these really tough procedures and hasn’t complained about anything yet. You can learn a lot from this little boy, like to never give up even though you are not like the others. You can also learn to stay strong, and don't lose hope.

    • codyp-kul
      9/30/2016 - 01:03 p.m.

      It is amazing that they have surgeries for that. its crazy that they can do that. be to an american!

Take the Quiz Leave a comment
ADVERTISEMENT