May 18, 2011Erb’s palsy victim is first round draft pick for NFL team

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected Iowa defensive end and Erb’s palsy sufferer Adrian Clayborn with the 20th pick of the 2011 NFL Draft. Clayborn and Tampa Bay general manager Mark Dominik say that the lineman’s condition will not hinder his ability to play defensive end in the NFL.

Clayborn was born in July 1988, weighing 11 ½ pounds at the time of delivery. Because of his large weight, doctors pulled too hard when removing him from the womb, causing nerve damage to his right arm and right shoulder. This condition—known as Erb’s palsy—is a type of birth defect caused by injury to the brachial plexus nerve.

Rather than undergoing surgery, Clayborn underwent years of physical therapy to improve the strength and functioning of his right arm and shoulder. Clayborn’s mother did not allow him to play football until junior high school out of fear that he could aggravate his condition.

The 10 years of physical therapy that Clayborn underwent—combined with the weightlifting program at his high school football team—completely healed the lasting effects of the birth injury which he had suffered. Doctors told Clayborn during his sophomore year of high school that his injury had completely healed, leaving no trace of the birth defects that he had suffered.

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