fracture signals the beginning of bone reabsorption by the body. As bone is slowly absorbed, it is replaced by new tissue and bone.
Prior to the initial diagnosis by Dr. Gregg Ferraro, Chris Butler, Butler’s father, noticed that his son was experiencing pain in his thigh region when he ran at times during his soccer game and brought it to Ferraro’s attention.
Ferraro, whose son played with the younger Butler on the soccer team, saw that he was limping and then brought him in to the doctor’s office for X-rays where Ferraro then discovered the condition.
Ferraro then referred Butler to Georgetown University Hospital where he had to have major hip surgery on both hips at 12, which was done by Dr. John Delahay.
After surgery, Butler was in a wheelchair for three months and was told that he had to stop wrestling for nine months to a year.
“It was scary. I would have leg pains, it was aching and hurting,” said Butler, reliving the tough moment. “The doctors said that a lot of kids don’t even play sports again or it is hard for them to walk. I remember my dad would have to carry me to save me from the pain. It was awful. After the surgeries, it was very hard to cope with. At times I was to weak to even walk.”
Ferraro said how tough it was to see the young Butler go through the life-changing diagnosis.
“When he was diagnosed it was a sad day for me,” said Ferraro, a former standout wrestler from Western Pennsylvania who has had his own practice at Capital Area Orthopedic Associates in La Plata for 10 years. “Cam was a real good soccer player and wrestler growing up. To see that happen to him was tough to see. The surgeries helped him heal, but he had to modify his activity in sports.”
Many family and friends were shocked of the news that Butler wasn’t on the wrestling mat or the soccer field, but he underwent hours of physical therapy, trained and was able to recover well enough where he returned to the wrestling mat 18 months later.
“The emotional ups and downs of not being able to play sports and not know what his future would hold as far as sports were some tough years for our family,” said the older Butler.
The younger Butler went on to be a stout wrestler at La Plata under head coach John Pankhurst, but went through even more adversity.
The last several seasons, Butler wasn’t able to finish well in the postseason, but, in his final year with the Warriors, he won his
first-ever SMAC tournament title, 2A-1A South Region tournament title and celebrated state gold, which was a dream come true.
“Last year I didn’t even place at states,” said Butler, who will be attending Division I’s Clarion University (Pa.) in the fall to continue wrestling career. “This is special. I’m so thankful. Having this disease made stronger. All the training and support from my friends, family and mentors made it all possible.”
Butler said that some of his mentors saw him claim the state crown, including former head La Plata wrestling coach Todd Sharp, Ferraro, St. Charles head coach wrestling coach Jason Kiessling, along with other family and friends.
“Cameron has been a fighter in life and on the mat. He is tenacious in competition and I know that he is going to succeed at the next level,” Pankhurst said. “I’m fortunate to have been part of Cameron’s life these past years and moving forward as well.”
Butler, who often trains with Kiessling several times a week, also will be training this summer with the Maryland nation- al team to prepare for the next level.
“Everyone has to overcome adversity. You just have to stay with a positive outlook on life,” Butler said. “There is no substitute for heart and hard work.”