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One year after a team of doctors performed an amazing surgery, 9-year-old Zion Harvey is able to do things that most kids his age take for granted, his mother and physicians said Tuesday at a press conference, CBS News reports.

An infection caused Zion, at age 2, to lose his hands and feet. But last summer, he became the first child to receive transplanted hands and forearms. A 40-member medical team from Penn Medicine and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia performed the delicate 10-hour surgery.

The active child’s new arms have developed with him over the past year. He’s now independent, making his own lunch and buttoning up his clothes. Zion, a huge sports fan, can now throw a baseball across home plate.

Zion was exuberant at the news conference, in which he talked about what he’s able to do and his plans for the future.

“Now I can throw a football further than when I didn’t have hands,” he said. “My next goal is to convince my mom to let me play football.”

His mother, Pattie Ray, glowed about her son’s hard work and progress. Zion’s doctors said their young patient developed hand strength and improved his brain-hand coordination.

“His brain says for his hands to move and they move. And that in and of itself is remarkable because for six years of his life that part of his brain, if you will, was asleep,” said Dr. L. Scott Levin, chairman of orthopedic surgery at Penn Medicine and director of the Children’s Hospital hand transplantation program.

Zion expects to make even more progress soon. The news outlet said that for inspiration, he has a picture of himself, surrounded by images of his three heroes – Jackie Robinson, Muhammad Ali, and Ray Lewis – taped to his bedroom wall.

SOURCE: CBS News | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty, Twitter


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