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            Chris's Story

            Chris is an adult who received an injury to his Brachial Plexus when we was born. He is now 25 years old and 5'9" and 160 lbs. He has had 3 major surgeries to date and a few minor ones as well, all were performed by Dr. Leonard Goldner in the late 70's and 80's. Dr. Goldner was basically the only expert in the field at the time and he gave lectures and performed these surgeries worldwide.

            "I grew up playing golf (one-handed), soccer, tennis, T-ball, swimming and played junior high football as a defensive back. I eventually earned a four year soccer scholarship and held several NCAA Division II scoring records (which have since been broken). I was married in July 1999 and I am half way through my Masters in Business Administration from the University of North Florida. I currently work in business operations and marketing for a company which distributes surgical implants and components to replace hips and knees.

            I don't remember the first surgery, but it was performed on my left forearm; primarily near my wrist and on my thumb. My forearm and my palm were both facing forward. The surgery turned it inward and allowed for more movement and strength in my thumb.

            Second surgery: 11 years old. Osteotomy of the humorous. My arm was still facing outward even though my forearm had been corrected. Basically they cut my humorous (upper arm bone), turned my arm inward and reattached it with a plate and screws. They did minor muscle work as well.

            Third surgery: 13 years old. Muscle was removed from my left thigh and transplanted to my shoulder area. This was to assist in lifting my arm because I couldn't lift it much higher than my stomach. Long recovery time.

            I have minimal grip with my fingertips because of a lack of muscle and flexibility. My bicep is strong for lifting but my tricep is extremely weak. I can't lift my hand higher than my shoulder but I have much more mobility than I had before. Muscle retraction in my biceps keeps my arm from straightening past 150 degrees.

            My family and I have been through it all and we would like to help you get the information you might need. If I can't answer your questions, I am positive my parents can."

            If you have any questions for Chris please email Tanya at

            Here are some questions he has already answered:

            Q.What extent are your injuries and has physical therapy played a key rolein improvments?
            A.The injuries were from birth and they originally involved my entire left side being paralyzed and immobile. Within days of birth I got most of the movement and feeling back, except for my shoulder, arm and hand. Movement by my third year was poor with my arm being restricted with virtually no ability to raise it or my hand able to grip much. Early physical therapy was crucial by teaching the basics such as tying a shoe, carrying things etc. My advice is to make sure all exercises are done for as long as the doctor prescribes. I stopped doing physical therapy when I was about 12 and I know I have lost quite a bit of movement and flexibility. When I did my physio I could tell positive results.

            After several surgeries I have about 45-50% usage. It could have been more but I was lazy when I was younger..

            P.S. Don't let your kids tell you it hurts too much or they can't do it....they're just lazy and tired (they might need to rest though). Set up a reward system.

            Q.I have a 12year old with Erb's Palsy from birth and we are considering have something done, what I don't know yet. Can you tell me how successful your operation was at a young age and how it affected you.
            A.All 3 of my major surgeries were performed before I was 15. The results were positive for all of the procedures, however the recovery time is the tough part. You must allow at least 3-5 months of recovery time for a major surgery. I live in Florida and 3-5 months is a long, long time when all of your friends are swimming and playing sports. I recommend that recovery time is clear for you and your child before you commit.

            I do recommend that you explore surgical solutions because the doctors today are pretty good. Physical therapy must be followed for optimal success. I am 25 now and I have decided not to have anymore surgeries. I always had bad reactions to the anesthesia and I hate needles so it's an easy decision for me. Recovery time was the toughest part though.


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