Dugan Smith wasn’t going to let a little thing like bone cancer stop him from playing baseball. So when doctors told him they would have to reattach his leg backwards in order to allow it to keep growing, he said yes, Fox 8 reported.
Dugan, 13, of Fosteria, Ohio, noticed his right knee was sore three years ago, and doctors detected a malignant tumor on his thigh bone. He chose a procedure called the Van Ness Rotation-Plasty – instead of having a prosthetic leg put on – so that he could continue playing his favorite game.
Dr. Joel Mayerson performed the procedure at Ohio State’s James Cancer Hospital, which involved removing the middle part of Dugan’s leg, rotating the bottom half 180 degrees, moving it up and reconnecting his blood vessels.
“I didn’t know if I was ever going to be able to run again,” Dugan said. “I didn’t know if it was going to work, so there were 100 things running through my mind, and I just try to stay positive.”
The positive energy paid off – and Dugan is back on the playing field again as a starting pitcher. He said he hopes to make it to the Major Leagues one day.
Bone cancer affects about 400 children each year, according to the American Cancer Society.