Leg-reversal surgery lets boy pitch again

FOSTORIA, Ohio, May 11 (UPI) -- An Ohio boy is playing baseball again after part of his leg was rotated in a bone cancer operation.

"When I was 10 years old I realized I was limping a lot and I broke my leg and realized I had cancer," Dugan Smith of Fostoria, now 13, told WJW-TV in Cleveland.


In a rare operation called a Van Ness rotation-plasty in August 2008, surgeons at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus removed Dugan's right knee and part of the thigh, rotated the bottom half 180 degrees, moved it up and reconnected his blood vessels.

"I didn't know if I was ever going to be able to run again. I didn't know if it was going to work, so there was a hundred things running through my mind and I just try to stay positive," the teenager said.

Dugan is now back as the starting pitcher for his Little League team, where his father Dustin is the head coach.

"I want him to be treated like every other kid playing baseball," Dustin Smith said.

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