Casey Martin has burst into the golfing world, shaking up long held traditions with his court-granted request to ride in a golf cart because of his medical condition. Most of the popular media refers to his condition as a "degenerative disorder" which may cause him to lose his leg if he continues to play. Casey has a very rare disease known as Klippel-Trenaunay-Weber Syndrome, also known as Angioosteohypertrophy Syndrome. There are less than 200 reported cases. The syndrome is characterized by hemangiomas, vascular "birth marks" or telangiectasia over the affected side of the body, bony or soft tissue overgrowth usually affecting one limb, and various vascular abnormalities including arteriovenous fistulas (abnormal connections between arteries and veins), absent or maldeveloped veins, and aneurysms. Conservative management with removal of the vascular abnormalites and correction of skeletal abnormalities such as leg length discrepencies is often needed. Amputation of the affected limb may be indicated in severe cases.
Casey has focused attention on this very rare but devastating disease. Hopefully, this attention will benefit others in the same manner in which Lou Gehrig focused attention on amytrophic lateral sclerosis.
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