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Union High School baseball player born with two club feet: "People are gonna tell you no. Just keep working.”

Bodie Bickford excells at athleticism despite club feet
Posted at 3:38 PM, Jun 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-02 18:04:57-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.  — When Nancy Haynes found out her firstborn son would have two club feet, she thought she'd have to lower her expectations.

This mom wants all other parents to know that you don't have to do that at all.

“When I see his feet run around the bases, I just get tears in my eyes. I think, ‘what a miracle,” Bodie Bickford's mother, Nancy Haynes said.

Diagnosed before he was born with bilateral club feet, Bodie has had multiple surgeries and casts to correct his feet from the time he was a baby.

“I love being active," Bickford said. "So when my doctor tells me I’m gonna have a cast on and I’m gonna have to play video games, I tear up."

This kid couldn't be stopped. He played soccer in his casts. Ran the bases in his casts. Even road his bike in a cast.

“He never has an excuse for not being able to do something,” Nancy said.

Club feet are quite common, and correctable.

Nancy says she wishes she knew that when she heard her son's diagnosis. Doctors place a series of casts on children's feet, and devices to help turn them outwards and lie flat.

“The treatment is so effective, and can give kids really pretty close to a normal foot, that they can go on to do all the things they want to do,” Helen Devos Pediatric Orthopedic Surgeon John Kemppainen said.

“It’s hard to remember back then,” Bickford said.

Much of his treatment happened at a young age. He's had surgeries to extend his Achilles, and lengthen a few tendons to make him more comfortable.

Bickford has a message for other kids who are born different like him: quitting is the worst thing you could do.

“You can do it," Bickford said. "Don’t let it stop you. People are gonna tell you no. Just keep working."