Jun 22, 2012
About Our Patient-Athletes
In the spirit of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games, NewYork-Presbyterian recognizes some of our patient-athletes who overcame great odds to stay in the game.
The Marathon Runners
Jessica Chipkin, Tim Sweeney, and Benjamin Carey were in dire conditions: a failing liver; failing lungs; a precarious aortic aneurysm. Jessica and Tim received organ transplants. Benjamin had his aneurysm repaired. Together, they went on to run the New York City Marathon with their surgeons.
The Olympic Champion
Olympic medalist James McEwan had compression fractures in his spine. His sports life was suffering and he was in pain. Through a procedure where doctors use surgical cement to mend fractures, Dr. Athos Patsalides repaired the fractures and James brought himself back to good health.
When Yankee slugger Reggie Jackson threw out the ceremonial pitch at a ball game in 2010, it barely reached the plate. His shoulder was ruined and Reggie felt embarrassed. Orthopedic surgeons Drs. Louis Bigliani and Christopher Ahmad returned him to Mr. October.
Gregory O'Keefe was young and lean, but a heart condition left him constantly winded. Cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Allan Stewart was winded too from excess weight and lack of exercise. Dr. Stewart repaired Gregory's heart. Gregory persuaded Dr. Stewart to shape up. They competed in the New York City Triathlon to celebrate.
New Lungs, Marathon
Tim Sweeney didn't have much longer to live. Cystic fibrosis was ruining his lungs and he needed a double-lung transplant badly. He got one and ten months later ran the New York City Marathon – with his surgeon.
The (Fire) Fighter
After he was hit by a bus while riding his bicycle to work during a transit strike, doctors gave New York City firefighter Matthew Long a 1% chance of surviving. But, he beat these very long odds. Through numerous surgeries and months of rehabilitation Matthew recovered and returned to being a tri-athlete.