After a rocket hit his family's home in Afghanistan, a boy grew up wondering if he'd ever be able to walk normally again. Twenty-eight years later, he is, thanks to a procedure performed in Denver. Shah Mohammad walks straighter than he has since he was a toddler.
“When I see the results right now I think it's great,” Mohammad says.
Getting to this point in his life has taken time. When he was 2, living in Afghanistan, he says a rocket hit his home.
“I got injured badly and seriously, it was not only me it was my sister and I lost my brother that was smaller than me,” Mohammad says.
His injuries caused his leg to grow slowly and crooked.
“By 18 years old, my right leg would bend and it would bend toward the left to the point that sometimes I would just fall down,” Mohammad says.
Early surgeries helped him walk, but not without difficulties. In 2015, he took a job with the U.S. Army and moved to America where he met Dr. David Hahn at Presbyterian Saint Luke’s Medical Center.
Hahn says his femur was crooked, but he knew of a new procedure that could change that. “These screws inside this nail will make the leg longer, so it grows very slowly,” Hahn says.
After placing an implant in Mohammad's leg, Hahn was able to use a remote to magnetically stretch the implant. New bone grew into the gap and eventually Mohammad's leg was 2 inches longer - but that wasn't quite enough.
So they performed the procedure a second time and the leg grew another 2 inches.
“It's 10 centimeters altogether,” Hahn says.
Hahn says he has performed the procedure before, but never to this extent. In fact, this was the first time he has done this procedure back-to-back on the same patient.
For the first time since December, he walked without crutches on Wednesday, only this time with both legs as close to being even than they have ever been.
“After 30 years or 28 years, to see me walking with equal leg with stride and faith and normally - I think it's a miracle,” Mohammad says.
He still has more procedures ahead: he will have to once again have the hardware inside his leg removed then, when that heals, he will need a full knee replacement.
Mohammad says he wants to do all of this before going back home to Afghanistan where his parents can see him walk straight for the first time since he was just 2 years old.