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news News Wednesday, November 13, 2019 Wednesday, November 13, 2019 10:17 AM - Wednesday, November 13, 2019 10:17 AM

Nerve transfer surgery helps improves patient's swim time

Nerve transfer surgery helps improves patient's swim time

During a short mountain bike trek last year, 15-year-old Olivia fell off her bike and severely damaged her arm. From the pain and lack of ability to move the arm she fell on, she immediately knew something was wrong.

Olivia’s mom, Tara, took her to numerous doctors, each confirming that Olivia’s injury had caused nerve damage to her shoulder and arm. They all said that the nerve damage was permanent and there was nothing they could do. Not only would her pain never go away, but there was a chance her swimming career would be over.

Finally, one of the doctors suggested that Tara bring Olivia to Shriners Hospitals for Children — Philadelphia. She recommended Scott Kozin, M.D., chief of staff, with the highest recommendation, saying, “If anyone can fix it, Dr. Kozin can.”

Olivia underwent a nerve transfer surgery at the Philadelphia Shriners Hospital in October 2018, which improved her range of motion and ability tremendously. Olivia was already very active when her bike accident occurred. She participated in swimming, cheerleading, soccer and was even a lifeguard. A month after her surgery, Olivia dropped 10 seconds off her backstroke time. She was now able to swim faster than she did before her accident.

Olivia wants others to know the doctors are amazing and always try to help. “My swimming was very important to me and it took a big hit when I got injured," said Olivia. “But after telling Dr. Kozin my desire to improve my swimming, and getting surgery, I can now swim better than I ever did before.”

Now, Olivia just returns to the Philadelphia Shriners Hospital every six months for a check-up and to monitor the progress of her nerve transfer surgery.