Original post from patch.com
A set of crooked shoulder pads ultimately led to a diagnosis of idiopathic adolescent scoliosis — an abnormal curvature of the spine.
SANTA FE, TX — It’s not every day that a junior high school athlete really notices anything strange about their equipment, but it was that attention to detail that changed everything for young Kendon Smith.
The Thompson Intermediate School 7th grader who played defensive end on his schools football team, noticed something out of the ordinary about his protective gear that made him think something was wrong.
“When I put my shoulder pads on, I noticed they weren’t straight,” he recalled.
Things never really changed. In fact, they got a lot worse. As the season wore on, wearing those shoulder pads became more and more painful and eventually forced Kendon to take himself out of a game.
Near the end of the season, Kendon realized it wasn’t his shoulder pads that were the problem. Something was physically wrong that truly frightened him.
“One day, when I took the pads off, I realized my shoulders were not balanced. It scared me,” he said.
His family took him to his pediatrician, who diagnosed Kendon with idiopathic adolescent scoliosis — an abnormal curvature of the spine and the most common type of scoliosis. The doctor recommended he see a spine specialist.
Kendon’s mom, Davelyn, did some research and found Dr. Jacob Weinberg, an orthopedic surgeon in the Clear Lake area.
“I liked his pediatric spine surgery experience and felt he was best qualified to treat my son,” she said.
Weinberg examined Kendon and determined his condition would likely worsen, particularly during a growth spurt, which had happened that summer.
Weinberg determined Kendon would need surgery that required fusion to correct the curvature in his spine, and help prevent additional curve progression. Doing nothing at all would ultimately hinder Kendon’s quality of life, compressing his internal organs and would impact his ability to breathe, Weinberg said.
“I knew I had to have the surgery, and told myself it’s going to hurt but I’ll push through it and get better,” Kendon said.
The surgery took place at HCA Houston Healthcare Clear Lake on June 28, just a few weeks shy of Kendon’s 15th birthday.
The surgery took several hours and not long after the operation, his doctors noted Kendon was recovering well and was moving about the hospital hallways. He was soon sent home to continue his rehabilitation.
The Smith family, who lives in Santa Fe, said they were grateful this procedure was able to be safely performed close to home at HCA Houston Healthcare Clear Lake. The convenient location made it easier for family members and friends to visit often.
While this surgery means football and other contact sports are not in his future, Kendon said he’s anxious to get back in his game.
“I’m a pretty good basketball player,” he said with a smile. “I can’t wait to start shooting some baskets.”