Thumbs up to the coaching staff and administration of the Samford University Bulldogs Basketball team who held a press conference and announced this week that they are signing Nathaniel “Biggie” Henderson, a seven-year-old to a National Letter Of Intent and making him the 17th man on the schools NCAA Basketball team.
Henderson suffers from an extremely rare syndrome, CLOVES syndrome, a degenerative disease that causes abnormal and rapid growth in some (but not all) of his extremities. The disease which has less than 100 confirmed diagnoses world wide has meant that the youngster has spent his life undergoing a number of painful surgeries including a recent one which amputated his right leg, after it had grown two-feet longer than his left leg.
From the team website where you can see a video of coach Bernie Seltzer announcing the signing,
“Henderson’s CLOVES manifests itself through complex vascular abnormalities and masses along with severe overgrowth on the right side of his body. He has had three surgeries to remove masses on his chest, arm, and the latest, on May 29, to amputate the bottom half of his right leg which had grown two to three feet longer than his left. He is still healing from his leg amputation, but is excited to get fitted for a prosthetic.
Henderson also has a tracheotomy to help him breathe because his esophagus was pushed to the side from overgrowth. Having CLOVES syndrome, he will always be at risk for more masses, yet, with the support of his team, he will be fully prepared to take on anything in the future!”
We here at Last Word applaud Seltzer and the players of the Bulldogs for this move, for brightening the life of a child and a family who certainly needs it, and its great to see the smile on Henderson’s face. In a world with too much “bad news” chalk this one up as one of the good stories, and I know that I personally will be cheering on the Samford Bulldogs this NCAA Basketball season!
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