The Realization

The pain was unbearable.  No kid my age should have to go through this.  Why me?  Why was I chosen?  What did I do wrong?   Why did I have to be different?   I thought I was all alone.  Three straight years with aches and pains. Three straight years waking up stiff.  Three straight years of being looked at as a wimp, a liar, a fake.  No–that’s not who I am.  I was too strong to give up.  I never missed one basketball game.  They didn’t understand.  They couldn’t see the injury.  Slowly losing my abilities.  Slowly being forgotten.  Slowly being remembered as a person who could’ve been something special.  Friends became enemies, coaches became rivals, and I became a reminder of what not to do. My mind was unraveling.  I was falling apart.  My life was a mess. Having grown up a stud athlete, this transition was surreal.  How could my abilities be taken away?  Did God hate me?  There had to be an explanation.  Doctor after doctor came and went.  Time passed.  Opportunities were lost.  Answers became an afterthought.  All I could do was just keep fighting through.  Mentally I was dying; physically I was near a breaking point. Giving up was close.  Maybe I was never good.  Maybe I made everything up.  Was I really hurting, or was it just in my MIND?

One last chance arose.  One doctor put my mind at rest.  He had all the answers.  Dr. Marc J. Philippon, a man I barely knew, changed my life forever.  I love a man I hardly know and that’ll be the case for the rest of my life.   Even if I don’t make it to play college ball, this man gave me one last chance to reach my dreams.  It wasn’t my fault.  The problem wasn’t my fault. I was born with bad hips. They told me, “If you were an artist, you never would’ve have pain.” I wouldn’t be writing this paper right now if that was the case.  I never would’ve had pain, but that’s not who I am.  I am an athlete on and off the court.

The diagnosis was that I had FAI (Femeroacetabular Impingement). My hips were shaped like ovals which caused me to tear both my labrums.  On top of that I had a lingering thumb injury that was luckily put on to the surgery docket at the same time.  Three surgeries in 6 weeks was what I was up against. I was 17 and I was ready for anything.   These surgeries were a blessing and a curse.  My dreams of basketball, so close within reach three years ago, now hit home with me.  My mindset changed on its own.  I began to think of my life without basketball and what I could and couldn’t do.  I was up against the world. I realize there is a chance that I will never become who I used to be and that’s why I’ve changed.  The world is brighter to me now.   My mind is healthier and I’m literally a new man.

These surgeries gave me the opportunity to put myself out there more.  I am currently  student council co-president,  a  position I probably wouldn’t have pursued  if it hadn’t been for these surgeries.  I’ve always had good grades through a lot of effort.  But this year I extended myself by taking 3 AP classes and an IB class.  Honestly I’m not sure how that’s going to work out, but the challenge is part of a journey that started with two painful hips.

I believe I’ve experienced more than most kids at this point in their life.  Everything I knew, everything I ever believed, was being taken away. Today I’m on the road to recovery, getting better one day at a time.  I know deep down everything happens for a reason and right now it’s hard to see.  But I know in the future it will eventually show itself.  I can’t wait for that, though.  I can’t control that.  All I can control is what I do between now and then, and I promise failure is not an option for me this time.

The Struggle

My junior prom had just ended.  Prom usually marks almost the end of junior year and the beginning of a great summer.  Not the case for me.  I was heading into hell. Three trips to Colorado.  Two in the summer one during school. I was gone for 12 days and missed 9 days of school in May.  How was I supposed to stay up with everyone?  That was one of my most remarkable feats.  I was able to stay on top of my studies and  receive honor roll for fourth quarter.  Pain pills, muscle relaxers, vitamins galore, and joint relief meds, just to name some of the stuff I was taking at this time.





Spring Break 2013

I had just been cut from the AAU basketball team, All Ohio,  that I had played with a year before because I wasn’t able to compete at the level I used to be able to  because of my condition.  My burst, acceleration, and quickness had consistently gone down since 2011.  I wasn’t the same player I used to be.  I knew that if I wanted to get back to where I used to be, I needed to fix myself.  Spring Break was pretty much an escape from life for me at this point.  Hanging out with my brother and  a few friends of mine  on the beach was what I needed to create a false sense of reality. My life seemed like it was falling apart.  Those 4 days away where what I needed.  My mom who never needs a break, though, was on her I-pad the whole trip,  looking up facts about FAI surgery, athletes who’ve had the surgery, and doctors who’ve conducted it.  My mom saved me. She found three doctors and sent my stuff out.  We waited. Watied in hope.  Waited for the first person to respond.  Dr. Marc Philippon of the Steadman Clinic in Vail, Colorado who had operated on Alex Rodriguez, Lady Gaga,  and Brandt Snedeker, just to name a few, was the first who responded.  He  gave me hope that I could come back and play.  A plan was in motion.

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West Palm Beach, Florida

When I found out

For three years I had question marks in my head.  It wasn’t until March of 2013, on Good Friday,  that Dr. Ellis of The Ohio State University diagnosed the problem I had.  A condition called Femeroacetabular Impingement, or FAI.  I was told that the chance of playing competitive sports again was very slim.  I was told that the life I had been so accustomed to living was about to change.  How is a 17 year old supposed to handle that news?  I couldn’t take it.  Right after I went to that appointment, the first thing I did was go to the gym.  I didn’t shoot.  I just sat there.  I sat there thinking.  Remembering all my great memories from sports.  I didn’t know what else to do.  School was out of the picture right now.  I wasn’t going to go back that day.  Too much news had been thrown on me.  My parents had gone back to work.  My friends and siblings were at school.  There was no one to talk to.  So I lay thinking, then thought some more.  I don’t even think I thought about anything in particular, just random stuff.  I just looked up and stared at the ceiling.  The only advice I got that day was from my dad when he finally got home.  He said,  “Danny, this doesn’t change a thing.  You’ve known something has been wrong with you and this just gives you closure.  You can keep dealing with the same things you’ve been dealing with for three years.  It’s a question  now of where we go from here.  That’s all.”



Ohio State Exam Room #3

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