Jon Rahm shares bond with Shriners patient at WM Phoenix Open

Wide eyes ? Phoenix had never flown before flying to Arizona to meet Rahm, and on his maiden voyage they encountered pockets of turbulence. Perhaps that’s fitting, as the journey to the sunny, surreal TPC of Scottsdale required the family’s full reservoir of faith.

Phoenix’s mother, Chariti, was trying to catch up on parenthood and was 18 weeks pregnant when she and Phoenix’s father, Shane, learned their son would be born with club feet. “I was devastated of course,” she says, “and there was no way of knowing how bad clubfeet was until we saw it with our own eyes. I wondered, I was stressed and lost sleep over it.

Then everything changed. Phoenix was born with bleeding brains and a virus attacking his lungs. His color was off, he wasn’t breathing on his own, and suddenly his club feet were less of a concern. Doctors intubated him and began a series of tests as his life hung in the balance.

“Those first days were exhausting,” says Chariti. “We were scared and tired and we didn’t know what the future held for our family, which is the scariest thing of all, the unknown.”

Leaving her new baby in the hospital, she adds, was “beyond difficult”. At some point, he raised his hand and deintubated, and doctors realized he was breathing on his own. Meanwhile, the body was reabsorbing the bleeding from his brain. He was stabilizing.

“There was a lot of prayer for this baby,” says Chariti, “but all we could do was leave it in God’s hands. Fortunately, the prayers worked and he returned two weeks later. He had a long way to go, but he improved faster than the doctors thought.

The next medical hurdle: what to do with your feet.

The late Ignacio Ponseti, from the island of Menorca, Spain, was as famous in his field, the treatment of clubfoot, as Rahm, from Barrika, on the other side of the country, is in his. Traditionally, treatment for clubfoot involved invasive surgery; that was what was available to Rahm.

“I’m tired of hearing that the reason I have a short swing is because I have tight hips or other things,” Rahm said at The Open Championship last July. He went on to explain that he was born with a clubfoot on his right leg, his foot, “turned 90 degrees inward and basically upside down.”

He continued: “They basically moved out, broke pretty much every bone in my ankle and I was cast within 20 minutes of my knee being born. I think every week I had to go back to the hospital to get a cast again, so from knee to leg, my leg didn’t grow at the same rate. I have very limited ankle mobility in my right leg. It’s a centimeter and a half shorter.

Lacking stability in his right leg, Rahm knew bringing the club back to parallel was going to be impossible. He was going to have to learn how to create power and consistency with a short backswing.

Perhaps the old method lingered longer than it should have. Ponseti, a Spanish Civil War doctor before fleeing the Franco regime and building his career at the University of Iowa, found that scar tissue led to long-term tightness and pain in his foot and ankle. peg. By avoiding big surgery and instead manipulating babies’ bendable foot and ankle bones – a process he likened to playing the piano – followed by a cast, the results improved.

No one took it seriously, but what ultimately made the difference was the internet, so when a few pioneering patients saw the benefits of the Ponseti Method for themselves, around the year 2000, the news spread quickly. Other doctors have also begun to notice this.

One of them was Dr. Kristen Carroll, a rising star from Salt Lake.

“Our Superhero”

About Darnell Yu

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