WESTLAKE, Ohio (WJW) – Ten-year-old John Kelly is motivated beyond his years.
“I want to be a professional soccer player,” he said.
He plays multiple sports: baseball, soccer, and basketball. You’d be surprised to learn he has a limb difference.
“It’s been hard, when I was younger,” said Kelly, of Elyria.
Kelly was born with congenital anomaly of his right upper limb caused by amniotic band syndrome during pregnancy. His mom Kim Kelly said he has been through limb-lengthening surgery, with the hopes of one day being fit with a prosthesis.
“It’s been 10 years in the making, from the time he was born up until now. He’s 10 years old and we’re finally here,” Kim said tearfully. “It is emotional. He finally gets to move those muscles that he’s never moved before.”
Hanger Clinic Upper Limb Specialist Craig Jackman fitted John with a brand-new myoelectric prosthesis, custom-made with flaming soccer balls to make it look even cooler, matching John’s personality and career goals.
“I’m using my brain to tell my muscle to move this to open it,” John said. “My front muscle, my bicep, is telling it to close, and my tricep is telling it to open it.”
The cost of a myoelectric prosthesis can vary, but it is typically tens of thousands of dollars. Kim said this one is luckily covered by insurance.
John couldn’t wait to start using it to pick up various items around the office. He plans to wear it to school for the first time on Monday. Kim said this will further empower her already driven son.
“With technology I only see this getting better, and his arms in the future only getting better,” she said.
“I’m just happy, because everyone will see me as a normal person,” John said.