The Story of Big James

They called him Big James, and when he was tracking down varsity quarterbacks as a high school underclassman in the state championships, he was a special sight to see – especially to those who knew The Story.

The story that Big James was born with a right foot so disfigured his mere presence on the football field was something only a fellow Shriners Hospital patient could comprehend. The story that Big James had a condition that had kept him from speaking until he was 4 years old. The story that Big James suffered from seizures so severe and a doctor thought he would be so limited by autism that he recommended to Big James’ mom to give him away, lest he bankrupt the family.

The story that, all these years later, while Big James was pursuing those frightened quarterbacks, it was only adrenaline that masked the intense pain in his left foot – his “good” foot – and that he was desperate for someone, anyone, to figure out what was wrong.

That desperation is what led Big James and his mom, Shannan, back to Shriners Hospitals for Children — St. Louis late last year, to the doctor who had changed his life as an infant, in the hope that the same doctor could help him again.

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