Strikers Team Up with Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital's [U-18] Sports Medicine to Grant Three Patients a Wish of a Lifetime
(Hollywood, Fla.) Two [U18] Sports Medicine patients and one Memorial Hospital West patient – all of whom are avid soccer fans and players – will have a chance of a lifetime to experience what is like to walk in the cleats of a professional soccer player. For one memorable day, they will join the Fort Lauderdale Strikers as an honorary team member, styling the team’s official jerseys.
Cassie DesVergers, 11, Ana Gabriela Hess, 16 and Ricardo Howard, 7, will take the field with the Strikers on September 19 at 10 am at Lockhart Stadium in Fort Lauderdale.
“We are grateful to the Strikers for providing this incredible opportunity to our patients,” said Antonio Milian, director, [U18] Sports Medicine, Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital. “We value the relationships we have established with teams in our area, which helps us to create opportunities like this for our patients and our community.”
All three kids are dedicated soccer fans. Both Ana Gabriela and Cassie also play for their school and community soccer teams, but have been sidelined for months due to a left ACL injury and fractured and dislocated right tibia, respectively. Ricardo, known as RJ, is an active boy who loves playing and watching soccer. He has made incredible gains during his physical therapy to help his restricted movements caused by brain atrophy.
“These kids are an incredible inspiration to us all and an example of the great achievements that can happen when one remains focused and dedicated to their therapy,” Milian said. “We know this will be an amazing experience for them.”
ABOUT THE KIDS:
· Cassie DesVergers, 11, has been playing soccer since she was 5 years old. In September 2012, she fell from the monkey bars and fractured and dislocated her right tibia and fibula. Three days later, she had surgery and was in a cast and crutches for three months before starting physical therapy at [U18] Sports Medicine in Coral Springs. She stayed focused on her goal and was rewarded with being able to play in the last few games of her soccer season. With the exception of a small scar, she is now fully recovered and looking forward to the upcoming season with her team – “Team Boca.”
· Ana Gabriela Hess, 16, plays center mid fielder for Somerset High School and the West Pines Strikers. She suffered a left ACL injury while playing soccer at a West Pines game in February, 2013. About two weeks later, she had surgery to reconstruct her ACL and has been one of the most motivated patients, according to her therapist, Alex Avila from [U18] Sports Medicine at Memorial Hospital Miramar. She can’t wait to get back in the game and continue chasing her dream of playing soccer in college and later as a professional athlete, like her favorite player, Alex Morgan from USA National Women’s Team.
· Ricardo Howard, 7, loves soccer and basketball. He was referred to Memorial Hospital West’s Rehab Center because he was having trouble using his left-side, a condition caused by hydrocephalus. Throughout his childhood, RJ has suffered seizures, but his physical limitations have not deterred him from being active and playing his two favorite sports. He has advanced tremendously in his therapy and can now use his left side more, even though he still has a preference for his right side.
ABOUT [U18] SPORTS MEDICINE
[U18] Sports Medicine, a service of Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, was developed to meet the needs of the pediatric and adolescent population for sports injuries and prevention. The team specializes in treating young athletes, starting with our fellowship-trained pediatric orthopedic surgeons from the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital: Michael Jofe, MD; Randolph Cohen, MD; Neal McNerney, MD; Stephen Storer, MD; Jeremy Frank, MD and Eric Eisner, MD. From diagnostic imaging by our pediatric radiologists and technologists to anesthesia care by our board-certified pediatric anesthesiologists and rehabilitation by our orthopaedic-certified physical therapists, the young athlete will be cared for by professionals who specialize in treating children and adolescents. [U18] Sports Medicine has two locations – Memorial Hospital Miramar, 1951 SW 172Avenue, Suite, 207, Miramar, and Coral Springs, 5830 Coral Ridge Drive, Suite 207, Coral Springs. The Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital Department of Orthopaedic Surgery has two locations: Hollywood and Boca Raton. For more information, visit U18sportsmedicine.com
ABOUT THE FORT LAUDERDALE STRIKERS
The Fort Lauderdale Strikers, South Florida's only professional men’s soccer team, are in their eighth season in 2013. The Strikers have been a part of the North American Soccer League [NASL] since the 2011 season. The team is owned by Traffic Sports USA, the North American subsidiary of The Traffic Group, the leading soccer event management company in the Americas, with headquarters in Brazil, and offices in the U.S. and Europe. The organization is committed to the advancement of soccer in South Florida at the youth, amateur and professional levels. The Strikers are pursuing a permanent home at a significantly renovated Lockhart Stadium, their current home, or at a new soccer-specific stadium in South Florida. More information on the team can be found at http://www.strikers.com