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, and 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, where he underwent the 10-hour surgery in July 2015. His mother, doctor and physical therapists joined him.
 
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 after suffering a serious infection, and 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, noting that he never has 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, and 11 had both hands replaced, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing, while 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, and she told him they would discuss it later.
 
"My next goal: convince Mom to let me play football," he said.

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
If Zion lives in Baltimore, why was his operation performed in Philadelphia?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (15)
  • kaileew-ste
    9/26/2016 - 01:56 p.m.

    Zion, a nine year old boy, received a double hand transplant. His, next mission, to play football. His mother is the only thing holding him back, saying it is to dangerous. Only eleven people in the whole United States have had a double hand transplant.

  • chrism2-bel
    9/27/2016 - 09:32 a.m.

    I think that this little inspired all of us by not giving up for our loves ones that haven't gone through the same thing yet

  • annb-bel
    9/27/2016 - 10:55 a.m.

    There are many unknown variables that could explain why Zion has his operation in Philadelphia. Initially, I would think that the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia is the most qualified hospital to perform such an operation. Zion had a long health history and perhaps he already has an established team of doctors in Philly.
    The article also says that he lives in suburban Baltimore. His actual town may be closer to Philly than Baltimore.
    My gut feeling is that when dealing with a surgery of this magnitude, you go to the research and teaching hospital that is most qualified in performing the procedure.
    The surgery is likely funded by the facility since it is probably part of "research". The article said Zion was the first child to under go this surgery.

  • annb-bel
    9/27/2016 - 10:56 a.m.

    There are some very well done news videos on Zion that let us see what an incredible boy he is!Such charisma!

  • noahr-ste
    9/27/2016 - 12:43 p.m.

    It is inspiring to see a kid overcome so much and want to do so much with his life still after being held back his whole life and not to want to overcome this is just amazing for a kid to do that.

  • metau-cel
    9/28/2016 - 09:50 a.m.

    There are many reasons why he may have had his operation performed in Philadelphia but mostly because I think the specialists for the surgery he was requiring weren't in Baltimore and there were more trained specialists in Philadelphia.

  • jacklynt-ste
    9/29/2016 - 01:40 p.m.

    I think this is really cool that the 9 year old boy with hand transplants wants to try something that he did could not do before. The boy went through an extensive surgery and rehab just to be able to use his hands again. He is the youngest to have a double hand transplant and he lost both of his legs and now has 2 prosthetic legs and i think it's awesome that he wants to play football.

  • monicas-ste
    10/04/2016 - 01:10 p.m.

    This is so inspirational. It's amazing. He has so much courage.

  • zakrym-ste
    10/06/2016 - 01:12 p.m.

    i think he should. if he wants to then why should he not be able too. it would be good for him

  • lbryant5-sam
    10/21/2016 - 11:58 a.m.

    Zion lives in Baltimore but he had his operation performed in Philadelphia because they probably have a larger hospital.People that know how to pull off a transplant are more likely to be in Philadelphia than in Baltimore. Philadephia is also a larger city than Baltimore.

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