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)
  • jarrod-war
    10/26/2016 - 10:25 a.m.

    the operation was set in Philadelphia from my knowledge is because it is the most qualified hospital to do these types of procedures. still anyway this is a really story that shows even after many tragedy's in your life you can still do great thing.

  • ashley3-war
    10/26/2016 - 12:37 p.m.

    His operation was in Philadelphia because that is where the childrens hospital was that could help him.

  • jacew1-mel
    11/01/2016 - 09:48 a.m.

    The hospital in Philadelphia was better than the one in Baltimore.
    It gave him a better hand transplant. Maybe Baltimore didn't have a doctor who could do hand transplants.

    By, Jace Weller #Little Wheels

  • johannaw-cel
    12/05/2016 - 10:12 a.m.

    Zion Harvey lost his hands and his feet to amputation seven years ago after a serious infection. He has leg prosthetics that allow him to walk and he received a double-hand transplant. He is the youngest hand transplant patient in the United States and he went through a rehab to learn how to use his new hands. According to the United Network for Organ Sharing, 28 people in the U.S. have had hand transplants, and 11 had both hands replaced. Now his biggest dream is playing football. I am really fascinated that Zion Harvey has so big dreams and I think this is really good. His mother doesn't want him to play football because it is to dangerous. I can understand her but on the other hand it is not good for her son to can't live his dream. Now Zion tries to convince his mother with the argument that he'd be playing against little kids and not professionals. I think he can convince his mother and play football.

  • xavierg-bur
    3/20/2017 - 07:06 p.m.

    I think that Zion had his double hand transplant in Philadelphia because I think that the doctors in Philadelphia have more experience than the doctors in Baltimore. Last year me and my mom were looking for good middle schools. We didn't have a lot of options, the one with 7/10 stars and the one with 5/10 stars and of course we chose the better one.

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