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News Wednesday, August 16, 2017

High school athlete has 'unreal' progress after hand surgery

Domenic's recovery has doctors impressed

Finishing up his junior year of high school, Domenic had summer vacation, football and college visits on his mind. But after an accident that damaged a tendon and a nerve in his right hand, he found himself focusing on a few different things.

Heading into his basement to work out, Domenic slipped and fell, dropping a glass bottle in the fall. The glass shattered and cut Domenic’s right hand. After his trip to the emergency room, a family friend recommended Shriners Hospitals for Children — Philadelphia and Dan Zlotolow, M.D. Domenic needed surgery on his injured hand, which included repairing a nerve with one grafted from his own calf.

Domenic returned a few weeks later to check in with Dr. Zlotolow, or Dr. Z as many patients call him, and get a progress report. Dr. Z could not believe Domenic’s 'unreal' progress. Nerves in Domenic’s thumb had already begun to respond to stimulation.

“He’s recovering like a 2-year-old would,” said Dr. Z, crediting Domenic’s physiology for his remarkable progress. “That’s kind of ridiculous. You’ve got the magic,” Dr. Z told Domenic. Since his surgery, Domenic has been doing physical therapy at home and working on gaining the feeling back in his fingers.

“The hardest adjustment was figuring out how to operate things with one hand, but I’ve gotten the hang of things now,” said Domenic, now 17. “My workout routine has obviously changed, too. I do a lot more running and cardio since I can’t lift with my hand this way.”

With the prospect of a brace to allow him to get back onto the football field, Domenic, a two-year varsity letterman at Council Rock North High School, is hoping to come back to his team in even better physical shape. While he tries not to let his injury limit his daily activities, he is most excited about getting back to his regular routine.

Now that Domenic is a couple months out from his surgery, his friends and family are much more willing to look at his hand since the healing has progressed. Dr. Z didn't wait the two months however, he called in Scott Kozin, M.D., and other fellows to admire Domenic’s 'ridiculous' progress much sooner.

“I’ve been preaching to all my friends. The service at Shriners [Hospital] has just been impeccable,” said Pina, Domenic’s mother. “It’s just been a fabulous experience.”