College Student Leads Team After Tissue Transplant  |  April 25, 2012

A large part of who Cameron had become was likely over.  Competing as a student athlete on the lacrosse field was what he loved most.  As team captain, he had every intention of leading his team throughout his senior year.  Additionally, he was planning to continue playing the sport he loved in college.

 “When I got word from my doctor that my senior year of lacrosse was over, I was devastated,” said Cameron.

During a game, Cameron injured his ankle.  Thinking it was a minor injury, he continued playing.  Despite initially thinking it was just a sprain, he woke up the next morning to an ankle swollen to the size of a basketball.   

“We went to the emergency room wondering if my ankle was broken or shattered,” said Cameron.  The news was grim. Cameron’s ankle was completely shattered.  In his mind, his lacrosse playing days were over. 

His doctor however, had a different idea. He knew about a procedure that been successfully performed on over 40 adults. 

“They said the procedure involved  using cartilage from a child donor and injecting into ankle,” he said.  Though no one as young as Cameron had ever had the procedure, he and his doctors decided it was his best option.  The procedure was a success.

“I was out of the hospital in about four hours and I only had to stay on pain medicine for about three or four days,” said Cameron.

After just two weeks of recovery, Cameron was back working with his trainer on his upper body strength and flexibility while his ankle was recovering.  By the second month, he was in a walking boot going to all of his classes.

“This procedure clearly allowed me the opportunity to continue playing the sport I love, lacrosse,” he said. “My doctor said that without this new technology I was unlikely to ever have the mobility necessary to play lacrosse at the college level.  If I had gotten pins and screws installed instead of this procedure I am sure I would not be on my school’s team today.”

When first told about the procedure, Cameron felt uneasy. He realized that while he was recovering, a family would be grieving.

“I understood that a family lost a very young child so I could get healthy again,” he said. “But at the same time, they were brave enough to honor their family member by donating their organs and tissue.  The more I thought about the surgery and the gift I was getting, the more I realized the best way to honor my donor was to live my life to its fullest.”

 Cameron not only tells his friends and family to become donors, he also thinks of his donor family while he plays the sport he so loves.

“There are many times when I am tired in practice or a game when I have a quick thought to dig a bit deeper as a small measure of thanks for all that I have been given,” said Cameron.  “I feel that I am tremendously fortunate to have been given such a gift.”

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