When Dugan Smith was 10 years old, doctors discovered a tumor "the size of a softball" in his right leg. He had a rare form of cancer, and he'd need an operation to remove it. Instead of choosing a more standard procedure, The Post Game reports this week, Smith opted for a "rotationplasty," because he didn't want to give up baseball:
Dugan's lower leg would be detached, turned 180 degrees, and reattached higher. That would allow his ankle muscles and ligaments to do the job of his knee. Basically: his ankle would serve as a backwards knee. So his foot would be at the end of his thigh, and he could place it into a prosthetic and have more control over it.
Dugan slips his right foot into a prosthetic leg every day, and pitches for his middle school baseball team. We ask, in absolute end-of-the-week sincerity, that you take a moment to appreciate a kid who can smile like that when he's staring at his foot, swiveled 180 degrees away from where it should be, just because he knows he can play baseball now. What a world! And what a guy.
Stunning Medical Procedure Saves A Boy's Baseball Dream [The Post Game]
Boy's Lifesaving Surgery Reconnects Leg Backward [Fox News Cleveland]