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

    That's good that zion enjoys his new hands and loves to play sports.

  • joep-mac
    10/19/2016 - 10:00 a.m.

    The boy is very inspiring, he should play football but the risk of breaking his wrist or hands are high. I think he is a great kid with a huge imagination.

  • kalliem-mac
    10/20/2016 - 12:49 p.m.

    this is an amazing thing that this boy went though. I pray for this boy and his future

  • natalieb-mac
    10/20/2016 - 12:52 p.m.

    It was performed in Philadelphia because the hospitals are better there and have more intelligent doctors than there are in Baltimore

  • erissad-mac
    10/20/2016 - 12:55 p.m.

    This boy was very inspiring this is a very emotional but happy story about Zion getting 2 hand transplant...The fact that his Mother doesn't want him to play Football I don't blame her because that is a very tough and aggressive sport but life is too short and it's Zion's dream to play football so if it makes your child happy then i guess u should just let it be :)

  • lduck-wim4
    10/21/2016 - 11:36 a.m.

    Zion Harvey is a very special boy. He might have a physical disability, but he is still a human being. This article was inspiring and I hope he can pursue his dreams of playing football.

  • mreed-wim5
    10/21/2016 - 12:51 p.m.

    I feel Zion's operation was preformed in Philadelphia instead of Baltimore because, the doctors in Baltimore may not know how to preform the operation.

  • andrew17-war
    10/26/2016 - 12:30 p.m.

    This is a very inspiring young boy. I hope that he will encourage many more people like him. So that they can pursue their dreams.

  • jacob13-war
    10/26/2016 - 12:32 p.m.

    I think it's a very touching story from a young man. Maybe people will be inspired by this boys choice and pursue their dreams as well.

  • eli-war
    10/26/2016 - 01:42 p.m.

    the fact that this boy is so determined is very inspiring. I think that it is so cool that technology has advanced enough to do transplants and help people In many different ways

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