Conditions + Treatments
Our oldest son, Hasaan, was born without tibias, the large, lower leg bones that allow us to stand. When Hasaan was 4 months old, we were faced with a terrifying decision: allow Hasaan’s useless legs and feet to grow or amputate them at the knees. We chose amputation and after ten months of riding around on Tonka trucks, Hasaan received the first in a long line of prosthetic legs. At the advice of Hasaan’s doctor, we made the decision to let our son learn the hard way: by stumbling through life on his own.
From a very young age, Hasaan had a passion for sports. As a kid, he would watch WWE and imagine himself among the stars. With me or his babysitter standing in for The Undertaker or another one of WWE’s colorful characters, Hasaan would climb to the top of our couch — in his mind, the top rope of the wrestling ring — and launch himself down on his opponent.
In elementary school, Hasaan played baseball at Pelham Park Baseball until he was 10 years-old. Then in the 6th grade, Hasaan decided to join the local wrestling club. From day one, he fell in love with wrestling and it became his sport!
Hasaan continued to wrestle in middle school and developed a strong desire and motivation to be the best. Through hard work and determination, he made the wrestling team his freshman year at Pelham High School. Hasaan continued to dedicate himself to the sport and by the end of the his sophomore wrestling season, his confidence was starting to really blossom.
However, in April and May of 2014, Hasaan started experiencing intense pain in his right shoulder. He had some minor injuries over the years, but this felt different and we knew it was something serious.
Since Andrews Sports Medicine provided medical coverage for our school, I reached out to their office in late May and scheduled an appointment with Dr. Emily Bell Casey, Pelham High School’s team physician. During our appointment with Dr. Casey, she suspected Hasaan had torn the labrum in his right shoulder and referred us to Dr. Jeffrey Dugas, an Andrews Sports Medicine surgeon.
Prior to our appointment, Dr. Dugas' staff informed us he wanted Hasaan to get an MRI to help better determine the severity of his injury. During our initial appointment, Dr. Dugas confirmed Hasaan had torn the labrum in his right shoulder and surgery would be required to fix it. To say the least, Hasaan was devastated!
When we heard surgery, our family decided to make lemonade out of lemons. I’ll never forget Dr. Dugas looking me in the eye and saying “During surgery, I’ll take care of him like he’s my own son.” As a mother, I can still clearly recall Dr. Dugas making that comment and the sense of relief that came over me knowing Hasaan was going to be ok. In addition, I really liked Dr. Dugas’ demeanor and bedside manner, which was also very comforting.
Prior to leaving the Andrews Sports Medicine office, we met with Dr. Dugas' surgical coordinator, and she walked us through the surgery process, answered all of our questions and scheduled Hasaan’s surgery for the following week on June 10.
Hasaan’s surgery at St. Vincent’s Birmingham went well and he started physical therapy soon after. I am thankful Hasaan worked with two great physical therapists – Nate & Aaron – who were conveniently located nearby at Champion Sports Medicine in Pelham. Hasaan continued to work hard to overcome the injury. He had PT 3 days per week in June - August and continued therapy through October. During this time, Hasaan was preparing to get his driver’s license and I am proud he overcame the additional obstacle of learning to drive with a brace on his arm.
Hasaan continued to have follow-up visits with Dr. Dugas, whom was very happy with the progress. FINALLY, in early November Dr. Dugas 100% cleared Hasaan to participate in wrestling practice - with no limitations. The timing couldn’t have been better with wrestling practice starting a few weeks later. Hasaan had a successful, injury-free junior season, finishing 3rd in the AHSAA State Wrestling Tournament.
Hasaan's 2015/16 senior year and wrestling season is a time our family and friends will remember the rest of our lives. Our family is grateful for and truly humbled by Hasaan’s remarkable season and all the accolades and local/national media exposure that followed Hasaan’s dream season.
South Sectionals Champ 6A/145 lbs.
Alabama State Wrestling Champ 6A/145 lbs.
Most Valuable Wrestler 6A
AL.Com Wrestler of the Year
East Coast Nationals America Crown Champ - 145 lbs.
NHSCA Nationals: 3-2 Class -138 lbs.
Bryant-Jordan 6A Achievement Winner
Most Team Points
Felecia Hawthorne - Proud Mom of Hasaan Hawthorne