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David Wright makes baseball dream come true for double-amputee Mets fan

New York Daily News—April 23, 2014

James Lozano's forever moment arrived at 3:45 Wednesday afternoon, when the double-amputee teenager from Queens blooped a batting practice pitch to short and took off around the bases at Citi Field, with his baseball idol David Wright chugging along behind him.

Things were going smoothly until they crossed third base - Wright's customary real estate. That's when the 15-year-old Lozano went tumbling into the grass, and Wright put on the brakes to help him. Without missing a beat, Lozano hopped up unassisted and sprinted home.

"I like it!" Wright shouted while Lozano hustled down the third-base line.

"Just getting the experience of being on the field and meeting my favorite player, the captain of the Mets, it's life-changing," said Lozano, a freshman at Middle College High School at La Guardia Community College in Long Island City.

Lozano was born with a rare congenital condition called fibular hemimelia, where an individual's legs are missing certain integral bone structures. Dr. Daniel Green, a pediatric orthopedic surgeon at the Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS), performed the procedure on Lozano when he was 8-months-old, amputating both of Lozano's feet. Green has continued to monitor Lozano's growth and progress over the last 15 years.

"He underwent surgical dislocations, or amputations at the level of his ankle because his feet couldn't be salvaged," said Green, who joined his patient at Citi Field Wednesday. "We like to do it before kids try to walk. We see James once a year, review his prosthesis, make some recommendations, check out his knees. But he's doing great." Green said Lozano dedicates a lot of his time for HSS, talking with young patients in similar medical situations.

Great was an understatement for how Lozano felt Wednesday, when he and his mother, Gloria, and James' uncle and friend first toured the Citi Field press box, the SNY broadcast booth and Empire Suite 213 over-looking the first-base line. When Lozano got down to the field and stood in the home dugout, he was presented with a signed Wright jersey which he quickly used to replace the Johan Santana Mets jersey he wore to the ball park. Lozano didn't see the real No. 5 sneak into the dugout.

Read the full article on NYDailyNews.com.


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