Resilient 13-Year-Old Braves Leg Amputation
On the basketball court, #32 isn't the tallest or fastest. But Alyssa Crook is truly a special player.
INSIDE EDITION's Megan Alexander met Alyssa as she wore that jersey for the last time with her two legs.
The arteries and nerves in Alyssa's left leg were tangled together, preventing her from straightening it. Each step she took was one of excruciating pain.
The 13-year-old's condition forced her to make a drastic decision that no one her age should have to make– Alyssa chose to have her left leg amputated.
Alyssa's mother, Karen Crook, told INSIDE EDITION, "This was her choice. She said, 'It's my life, my body, my leg, my choice.' "
Karen said from the day she and her husband adopted Alyssa from a Ukrainian orphanage, they knew her life would be challenging. Alyssa suffered from Multiple Pterygium Syndrome, which affected her speech and caused the problem in her leg.
"Getting her back here to the U.S.A, she at least had a fighting chance," Karen said of bringing Alyssa home.
As she grew, Alyssa endured years of physical therapy to stretch her leg, but her efforts were futile. At Shriner's Hospital for Children in Chicago, her surgeon, Dr. Jeffrey Aikman, gave Alyssa two choices: shorten both legs by 16 inches or amputate her left leg. Alyssa opted for amputation, because she felt it would enable her to lead a more active life.
"Once she makes up her mind, she's very determined," Aikman said of Alyssa.
Alyssa firmly believes that God spoke directly to her, and gave her the faith to amputate her leg.
Two months later it happened. Alyssa's left leg was amputated.
"I'm very blessed," she said of her life today.
Alyssa's prosthetic leg was made especially for her–it features a hardwood design and her team's logo, an eagle.
When she returned to the court, Alyssa tossed aside her crutches. Standing on her new prosthetic limb, the resilient teen took aim and hit nothing but net.