Close this search box.

Surgery on a Hospital Ship Gives Adam a Promising Future

An unfortunate incident

Nine-year-old Adam Zidane loves playing soccer, and it’s no surprise. He was born on the same day as a big Champions League game in 2009. So his father named him Adam Zidane after the famous French soccer player, Zinedine Zidane. Nothing could make his father happier than to see his son play soccer.

At age five, Adam Zidane was treated for malaria. Unfortunately, the nurse who infused him missed his vein and the fluid leaked into the flesh of his foot, which swelled to the point of infection. The muscles in his ankle tightened to the point of deformity. The medical accident left the young boy severely disabled; Adam Zidane could no longer walk or run properly. He could no longer play soccer either.

When doctors told them that amputating their son’s foot was their best option, Adam Zidane’s parents searched tirelessly for help. His father Abdoulai spent more than he could afford on medical expenses to find a solution.

Story of Adam Zidane

Moving from fatality to hope

Every day, Adam’s family lost hope and with a heavy heart began to accept the idea of amputation to heal their son. So the surgery was scheduled. But one day, they learned that Mercy Ships would soon be visiting Cameroon with their hospital ship. They registered their son to be seen by the volunteer medical professionals.

A few months before the boy’s foot was amputated, Adam Zidane’s family learned that he would be cared for onboard the Africa Mercy. Volunteer surgeons would operate on his leg and foot, and a team of physical therapists would work with Adam as he recovered and regained his mobility.

His parents were ecstatic. “When we got the call from Mercy Ships that he had been selected for surgery, it was a celebration at home. Everyone was so happy,” said Abdoulai.

Adam Zidane was going to be able to walk again, run, and of course, play soccer!

Story of Adam Zidane

The road to recovery

After several surgeries and skin grafts, his contracted muscles regained their flexibility and mobility and his foot could return to its original position. For Adam Zidane, who had spent more than three years walking on his heel, his dream was coming true!

After his surgery, Adam Zidane used crutches for several weeks, and despite his discomfort, he never stopped smiling.

“I’m very happy to see my little frog hopping around on his crutches,” said Abdoulai. “I never thought I’d see this one day!”

It took several months of physical therapy for the child to walk again.  Adam visited the Africa Mercy several times a week and with the help of our rehabilitation team, he quickly progressed through the exercises to learn to walk again. The time for recovery was approaching.

Finally, Adam returned home, able to walk like he used to. His village welcomed him with joy and together they celebrated his comeback, his recovery and his promising future!

“Before, he couldn’t play with his friends, he had trouble walking and he couldn’t go to school every day because it was two kilometers away,” said Abdoulai. “Now he will walk with his five brothers to school every day. He likes to play soccer, climb trees and go swimming.”

Adam Zidane was finally able to resume his favorite sport. As he runs behind the ball, his every move symbolizes the hope and courage he and his family have shown.

Story of Adam Zidane

To enable other patients like Adam to have access to life-changing surgeries onboard a hospital ship, you can donate here or to discover other patient stories.


Program orthopaedic


Our other patients stories

More News