Next goal for youngest double hand transplant patient: Playing football

The world’s youngest double-hand transplant patient has told how his next goal is to convince his mother to let him play football. Speaking just over a year since undergoing the 10-hour operation, Zion Harvey said he was getting used to life with his new hands. “I feel happy about my new hands, and I don’t feel different,” he said at a briefing at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. But he still has to get protective mum, Pattie Ray, to let him play the game against his friends. “My next goal: convince Mom to let me play football,” he said.

I like now that I can throw a football further than when I didn’t have hands.

Zion Harvey

Zion, from Baltimore, had his hands and feet amputated seven years ago after suffering a serious bacterial infection. He has prosthetic legs, allowing him to walk, and has been going through extensive rehabilitation since the transplant in July last year. He showed off his new skills by throwing out the first pitch at a Baltimore Orioles game earlier this month - and his mum would be happier if he stuck to baseball. She said: “I’m just living through him, and I’m just here to support him in any way and help him do whatever it is that he wants to do, if it’s a baseball - not a football. Just a baseball.”

I’ve never seen Zion cry. I’ve never seen him not want to do his therapy. He’s just a remarkable human being, let alone child or adult. He has such courage and determination and gives us all inspiration

Dr Scott Levin, team leader of Zion’s surgery