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, 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. "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, and 11 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.

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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 (46)
  • nataliak-pav
    9/27/2016 - 09:56 a.m.

    This boy is so inspiring. If he chose yo play football then let him play. He should be able to play whatever he wants and not be held back by his disability.

  • kirstenw-pav
    9/27/2016 - 09:57 a.m.

    This boy and his story is inspiring because not only did he have a double hand transplant, but he wants to follow up on his dream of football. For a kid his age, this must be so hard for him because he had to have learned how to function, everyone should know his story.

  • bolivia-dav
    10/02/2016 - 04:14 p.m.

    In response to " Boy with double-hand transplant wants to play football" I agree that he should play football. One reason I agree is that just because he has a disability does not mean he isn't a regular kid. He can still do things that kids without a disability can do. Another reason is that he has gone throw rehab to learn how to use his new hands, so he could play football. It says in the article that "In August, the suburban Baltimore boy showed off his new abilities by throwing out the first pitch at an Orioles game." He can still throw a baseball with his new hands, why not a football?. A third reason is Zion said he can throw a football further now then he could before.Even though these hands are transplants, I think that Zion should still be able to do things any other kid could do.

  • hcicily-dav
    10/03/2016 - 05:42 p.m.

    Zion is a very inspiring little boy. I think that this boy should follow his dreams and play football even though he had a double hand transplant. This kid is very tough and strong as he goes through this experience and if football is really his passion, then he should play football. He does have a physical challenge though. I think it could be very dangerous and risky for him to play because of his surgery although his disability is not the biggest obstacle. The biggest challenge is that his mom does not want him playing football. "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." Overall I think Zion is very inspiring and he should follow his dream even though he has to work hard to achieve it.

  • jcharles-dav
    10/06/2016 - 06:01 p.m.

    In response to this article I think he should be allowed to play football. One of the reasons I think this is it might help rehabilitate the hands. It could also make him more confident about his current situation. Another reason is if the kid believes he can do things band wants to as long as they're not illegal it should be encouraged. So as long as he follows guidelines he can be great.

  • coltene-lew
    10/11/2016 - 03:21 p.m.

    This is a very inspiring story from this young man. I feel that we need a lot more people like him.

  • eharlan-dav
    10/16/2016 - 07:07 p.m.

    In response to "Boy with double-hand transplant wants to play football," I agree that Zion should play baseball and football. One reason I agree is, because its amazing that a kid that had no hands or legs can and wants to play baseball and football. In the article "In August, the suburban Baltimore boy showed off his new abilities by throwing out the first pitch at an Orioles game." This quote proves that Zion can play baseball when he threw a pitch at the Orioles game. Another reason that I agree that Zion should play baseball and football is that it would inspire other people with disabilities such as him to play a sport, such as baseball and football. Even though if he couldn't do it (He probably could though), I think that wouldn't hold him back and he would still try and try to do it.

  • monad-mac
    10/19/2016 - 09:51 a.m.

    well I think that...this is so good.This kid is inspiring,he should play football.This must be hard for a kid his age but as you can see hes pretty happy about it.

  • jakef-mac
    10/19/2016 - 09:58 a.m.

    This passage is very sad but encouraging.

  • kariml1-mac
    10/19/2016 - 09:58 a.m.

    I like Zion's story because he never gave up on his life. He lost his arms but he still wants to try.

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