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Boy With Rare Brain Disorder Makes Dreams Come True With The Help Of High School Football Team

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A 5 year-old Chatsworth, Georgia boy is making his dreams come true with the help of a High School football team. Last Year, Ben Holloway was diagnosed with a rare brain condition. Doctors weren’t sure he was going to live. However a year later Ben is proving doctors wrong on and off the football field.

According to ABC News

Donning a green Murray County High School jersey with his name on it and a white helmet, Holloway was cheered on by football team members chanting his name as he ran down the field this past May, his dad Joshua Holloway told ABC News. And though he stumbled two times, team members helped him back up and went wild when he finally scored a touchdown.

“The entire team picked him up, chanting, ‘Ben! Ben! Ben!” he said. “I’ve never seen him so happy or ecstatic. He was on cloud nine.


BDAF is an abnormal connection between blood vessels outside and inside the dura, the brain’s fibrous covering, according to Dr. Nicholas Bambakidis, who did not treat Ben, but who is a neurosurgeon who treats other children with Ben’s condition at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio.

After the doctor did an angiogram to see how bad Ben’s situation was, a procedure that took over three hours, he came out and told the family that it was the biggest fistula he’d ever seen, Joshua Holloway said.

“He said he could attempt to fix it, but there was a 50 percent chance he’d have a stroke and a 20 percent chance he might not make it off the table,” he said.

After further research, Ben’s parents went to New York City for a second opinion from Dr. Alejandro Berenstein, the doctor who invented the procedure to treat Ben’s condition.

“He had a consultation on a Friday, and the following Monday, he performed his first surgery on Ben,” Holloway said. “Ben’s condition was so advanced that he couldn’t just do the traditional surgery of opening up his brain. He had to put platinum coils into the fistula first — into Ben’s leg, through the aorta, into the heart, through the neck and then up to the brain.”

An additional surgery was performed a few days later to bond everything together, he added.

The surgery was successful, and Ben has only had to do one emergency surgery after a dangerous leak this past June, his dad said.

Though Ben will likely not be able to play football competitively because of its intense physical nature and the risk for head trauma, he has been able to play other sports such as baseball and soccer, his dad said.

The condition is rare in children, Bambakidis said, noting his hospital sees about two to three cases a year. He added that because the condition is considered “too high-risk to treat” by community hospitals, where doctors may not have as much experience and expertise, it’s important to address the condition at larger hospitals that may have the proper surgeons and specialists to treat and potentially cure such conditions.


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