Making a Difference for Michael

Published on: 01/23/2015
Michael Hadler is a busy high school student, an ambassador and volunteer for the Best Buddies Program and Miracle League athlete whose favorite subjects include creative writing and world history. Oh, and Michael also has spastic cerebral palsy.

As the 2014-15 school year progresses, Michael’s life is on an upswing once again. But only a year before, the Pembroke Pines teen was struggling. 

“Doctors told us he had the hips of an 80-year-old man,” his mother Lucrecia recalls. Tightening of muscles common with spastic cerebral palsy had caused damage to his hip socket, resulting in so much pain that Michael stopped enjoying school and his wheelchair sports league activities. 

Pain medications were prescribed by the teen’s doctors, but these left Michael groggy and lethargic. Then, the family was referred to the Spasticity and Movement Disorders Clinic at Nicklaus Children's Hospital, formerly Miami Children's Hospital, where an entire team of specialists is available to consult in the care of children with cerebral palsy and other movement disorders.

There, the family learned of a procedure that could help Michael. Neurosurgeon Dr. Toba Niazi advised that a dorsal rhizotomy could relieve Michael’s pain by decreasing his spasticity. Although the family had previously been instructed by other caregivers that Michael was not a candidate for this procedure, Dr. Niazi was convinced the surgery would make the difference. And it did. 

Following the June 2014 surgery, Michael is back at school and back in the swing of things, enjoying classes and the school and sports activities that are so important to him.

“We are seeing the real Michael again,” said Lucrecia. “We are so grateful to Dr. Niazi and the team at Nicklaus Children's for giving us back our son.”
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