FOSTORIA, Ohio -- In just a few days, 18-year-old Dugan Smith will graduate from high school and go to college.
There was a time when the teen from Fostoria, Ohio, wondered if he would ever walk again, let alone graduate from high school playing varsity sports in both baseball and basketball. Eight years-- then 10-year-old Dugan -- was diagnosed with bone cancer. "I realized I was limping a lot and then I broke my leg and found out I had cancer," Dugan said.
Dugan had a tumor the size of a softball on his thighbone. "I didn't know if I was ever going to be able to run again. There was a hundred things going through my mind."
He endured months of chemotherapy before choosing a procedure that would cut off a portion of his leg and turn it 180 degrees. "My right foot is backwards compared to my left foot."
The rare procedure called rotationplasty was performed by Dr. Joel Mayerson. Dugan's repositioned foot now acts like a knee and allows Dugan-- with the use of a prosthetic-- to run and play sports just like before.
Now that Dugan is older, he has discovered basketball and has taken that challenge head-on as well. "I don't want to have any excuses. I'm already going in with a restriction. The coaches could use my leg as a reason not to play me. I've never sat out of a sprint; I've never sat out of a run; I never missed a practice. I want to show them that I want to be our big man and I can be that guy. I started every game. I can grab the rim and I can almost dunk; I get up there well."
Dugan now has his sights set on college. After some careful thought, he has decided on Bowling Green, and will major in human movement science.