Sporting a Superman sock on her left foot and Batman on her right, Bella Burton, a 12-year-old from Woburn, Massachusetts, listens intently to her orthopedic surgeon Dr. Lawrence Karlin. Lots of people mix up their socks, he tells her. “You should really stand out from the crowd. Wear unmatched shoes.”
She chuckles and pretends to ponder his advice. Ultimately, Bella decides against Karlin’s fashion tips.
The exchange is typical of Bella and Karlin, says her mother Rachel.
The pair first met in 2007 at the Boston Children’s Hospital Orthopedic Center when Bella was just a toddler. Genetic experts suspected Bella had Morquio syndrome, a rare birth defect whose symptoms include abnormal bone and spine development and possible heart and vision problems.
As Bella underwent genetic testing, Rachel and her husband Ed faced a flutter of uncertainty. “We were so new to Boston Children’s, and Bella’s diagnosis wasn’t confirmed.”
Genetic testing confirmed Bella did have Morquio, which meant she needed a slew of additional specialists — in clinical genetics, pulmonology, cardiology, neurology and more.
Kristina Peitzch jokes that with four daughters her family keeps the local dance school in business.
It started with Jessica, now 13.
Jessica fell in love with ballet when she was 3. A few years later, Danielle followed, then Madison and finally Abigail. Going to the studio on a nearly daily basis is a family affair.
But when Jessica was 9, she started experiencing mysterious ankle pain. Dancing felt a little less enjoyable.
“It was random at first and seemed to happen more with activities like gym class or ballet,” says Kristina. The pain would disappear for a few weeks, so Kristina attributed it to growing pains.
Over time, Jessica’s ankle pain became more frequent, and she would complain about it several times a week.
Kristina mentioned it to her daughter’s pediatrician, who ordered an x-ray of her ankle. It didn’t show an injury or fracture, so Kristina continued to treat Jessica’s ankle pain with an occasional Advil. …
Thirty-something moms Tosha LoSurdo and Jessica Rohrick have been friends since college. In 2015, both learned they were pregnant for the first time. They thought they might share similar sagas as new moms — diapers, sleepless nights and teething. They didn’t expect to bond over infant hip dysplasia.
When Tosha’s daughter Carmela was born on Feb. 4 at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, the pediatrician noticed her hips were a little “clicky.” She was told the connection between the femoral head (top of her thigh bone) and hip socket wasn’t stable, and Carmela might have developmental dysplasia of the hip; Carmela was referred to Dr. Eduardo Novais, a pediatric orthopedic surgeon and hip specialist in the Boston Children’s Hospital Orthopedic Center and Child and Young Adult Hip Preservation Program, who examined her before she was discharged home. …
“The crux of Olympic competition is to do everything you can to be the first one to cross the finish line,” says Abbey D’Agostino. But that’s not what Abbey did during the 5,000-meter qualifying heats in the 2016 summer games.
Abbey had trained for her Olympic moment for years, adhering to the rigid 24/7 lifestyle of an elite athlete since graduating from Dartmouth College and signing to run professionally with New Balance.
Abbey’s Olympic moment came unexpectedly when she and New Zealand runner Nikki Hamblin collided and tumbled to the ground.
What happened at the Olympics is an example we should be talking about in youth sports. It’s not just about achievement. It’s about sportsmanship.
Abbey ignored her training, her coach’s advice, her dreams.
She stopped and extended her hand to Nikki, and the pair hobbled through the final mile of the event side by side.
“What happened at the Olympics is an example we should be talking about in youth sports. It’s not just about achievement. It’s about sportsmanship,” says Dr. Mininder Kocher, associate director of Boston Children’s Hospital Sports Medicine.
There were a few things Abbey didn’t know during that fateful mile. She would be diagnosed with a devastating injury: a complete tear of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), a meniscus tear and a strained medial collateral ligament. She and Nikki would be awarded the Pierre de Coubertin medal for Olympic spirit. And her team would expand.
Physical therapist Carl Gustafson would join Team Abbey, along with her coach Mark Coogan and Kocher, a world-renowned knee surgeon. …