For years I’ve taken dance classes, gymnastics, and performed in musicals. Because of my activities, I thought my back was ‘tight’. I’ve been to the doctor for colds, concussions, and other things, but we didn’t know to ask ‘to get checked’ for scoliosis.
My diagnosis went unnoticed until one day at the age of 13 while at Wittler Orthodontics, the office manager Julie Downs spotted my shoulder blade sticking out. She called my mom later that day after talking to her boss as to whether she should say something. We’re so grateful she spoke up.Upon consulting with several doctors in various states, my diagnosis of a 48º curve was too late for bracing to be effective. My best option was surgery. I underwent VBT (vertebral body tethering of T5-T12) which is a newly FDA approved surgery that uses a rope to maintain spine flexibility instead of fusion with two steel rods. VBT was approved in Aug. of 2019, the same month I was diagnosed with scoliosis.
In my state, our legislature decided scoliosis screening was not necessary for schools and that pediatricians could handle it.
I’m an example that doesn’t work.
Had my school screened for scoliosis, had my doctor done the Adams Forward Bend test or used a scoliometer at any of my ‘sick’ visits, it may have been caught sooner. Doctors may only screen on a designated ‘wellness’ visit or possibly at a sports physical.
This leaves too many kids left unchecked.
And, it’s such a fast and simple thing to do.
It’s my mission to speak with schools and youth groups of the signs of scoliosis and to have schools annually check kids grades 5 to 8 via the Adams Forward Bend Test. I share my ‘before’ surgery photo as a flyer so you can spot the signs of scoliosis too.
I have a speech, a talk, and flyers. I’ve spoken in-person to nearly 1000 7th graders. I’ve reached thousands via international and national media on TV, radio, and podcasts.
Contact me if you’d me to speak to your organization or if you’d like to support this not-for-profit cause.
Keegan Cares, Inc is a 501(c)(3) organization.
Keegan undergoes VBT
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