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Xander Guarna

Brooklyn, NY

When I was 13 years old, one mistake in one second changed my life forever. I never thought twice about doing things as simple as walking or running. I enjoyed playing flag football, basketball and baseball. In May 2016, while at a friend’s home in Connecticut all that changed. I was a passenger on an ATV and during a sharp turn, I was thrown from the vehicle. The ATV had landed on my leg and I sustained a severe compound fracture. After being airlifted to a trauma center I underwent two surgeries to clean and stabilize my broken tibia and fibula with long metal rods. A third, 11 hour surgery followed, closing the large opening in my lower leg. After two weeks at the trauma center I went home in hopes that my leg would heal. There was a section of bone missing in my tibia, which doctors hoped would regenerate. It did not. In October it was determined that my leg wasn’t healing because I had a bone infection, which needed to be addressed immediately.

My parents and I met with several orthopedic surgeons to determine, who would be the very best to deal with this serious setback. Ultimately, we chose Dr. Roger Widmann at HSS, a well-regarded surgeon at the top orthopedic hospital. I felt a sense of comfort and reassurance with Dr. Widmann as he explained each proposed surgical procedure. He took his time answering my questions and never wavered in how he felt it best to proceed. Though it may sound crazy, during all my hospital stays, HSS felt like my home away from home. Everyone there ensured that I was comfortable both emotionally and physically each and every day. It was clear my parents felt a sense of ease in knowing I was in the best hands and that everyone’s primary goal was my well-being.

I underwent three more surgeries at HSS, all performed by Dr. Widmann and today I am back to playing sports. I started boxing, which is an intense workout and has gotten my legs really strong. I still enjoy basketball, football and started playing lacrosse. I could not feel more grateful to be back at sports and in good health, having had such great medical care.

Challenges in life can push you forward. Of course, having a great team is the game changer!