FC Dallas Player Atiba Harris Gets Kick Out of Plano Hospital Visit to Ethiopian Twins With Severe Scoliosis

PLANO -- Markos Borgale paced anxiously between his walker and a gray chair Friday afternoon inside a Medical Center of Plano hospital room. Nearby was his bedridden twin brother, Tamrit. Soon, the source of their anxiety appeared. Both brothers smiled as FC Dallas soccer player Atiba Harris entered the room and handed them each a shiny Christmas gift bag with a personalized FC Dallas jersey and a pair of sandals from St. Kitts, the country where Harris grew up. "I'm so happy," Markos said as he fist-pumped Harris.The 16-year-old Ethiopian soccer fans hugged the jerseys as they traded high-fives and hugs with Harris, 31. The teenagers will spend the next few months in North Texas recovering from several surgeries to treat their severe cases of scoliosis. The boys traveled alone from their home in Addis Abbada, Ethiopia to Plano in early December after meeting their doctor, Ted Belanger, in May during his annual trip to the country. Belanger performs back surgeries in Ethiopia, but sometimes gets permission to have certain patients come to Plano or the procedure when the probability of surviving the surgery in their native country is slim. Scoliosis forces a person's spine into a sideways curve, usually in the shape of an "s" or a "c." Depending on the severity, the condition can be treated with either a brace or surgery. A severe case of scoliosis can interfere with breathing if left untreated.Cheryl Zapata, a chief development officer at the Texas Back Institute works with Belanger. She said the boys will recover from their surgeries at her home before returning to Ethiopia in early 2017. Zapata said the brothers will be alone during their stay in the U.S. because their father -- their mother's whereabouts are unknown -- was unable to get a visa to come with them. "Ethiopia doesn't let families travel together," Zapata said. "They said they really miss their father."   Continue reading...

Copyright The Dallas Morning News
Contact Us