The teenage years are for most people a difficult time filled with problems that the average adult would like to forget. You are often worried about your acnes problems, your popularity in school, your social standing within your circle of friends, and how you look to the opposite sex. On tope of all that there is the torrent of hormones that is rushing through your body that makes it difficult to concentrate on your school work, and your responsibilities and obligations.
While most of us at that age is probably worrying about whether our 5 foot diminutive selves will ever get to that special 6 foot in height and often on our knees late at night praying to gain taller, Brenden Adams have a completely different set of problems. He is tall, and I mean REALLY tall. He was given the illustrious title of World’s Tallest Teenager in 2010 and now he is 19 at the time of the writing of this post.
I understand that the teenage years are only a few years between 13-17 and soon he probably will be over that age, and that title will go to someone else. However, I wanted to talk about him because his case and the disorder that he suffers form that causes the enormous height is so unique and may actually help us understand more the way the human growth processes actually work.
I feel that I can’t do justice in explaining his condition well enough so I will just quote from other articles about his condition.
From the website The Tallest Man
Brenden Adams was born on September 20, 1995. He was born at Kittitas Valley Community Hospital and grew up in Ellensburg, Washington. His birthweight was an average 7 pounds, 3 ounces and measured at 19.5 inches long.
Because of the teen’s neverending growth, he was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor, a bleeding disorder, a heart disorder, and athritis in his overgrown joints that started affecting him between the ages of two and eight. With of the fear of leukemia, doctors went in and performed a bone-marrow biopsy so that they could study his cells. To their suprise, the biopsy unveiled that the teen was suffering from a chromosomal disorder that causes him to grow at an accelerated speeds. It is said that only two percent of the population has this “balanced chromosomal inversion”. What happens is that some of the genetic material gets rearranged when the cells divide during the earliest stages of developing. The teen’s 12th chromosome was affected and altered which affects a person’s growth.
The World’s Tallest Teen, Brenden Adams is not only tall, but he physically and visually is different. His mother says that he constantly needs his team of doctors and visits them frequently to maintain his growth and other physical body changes. The teen has abnormally huge joints, fatty tumors, and extra teeth. “”
From the website World Record Academy
Normal-sized at birth, Brenden grew quickly – getting all his baby teeth by four months and growing as tall as an 8-year old by the time he was 4.
Still, he is extremely limited on the football field. “He can’t run, he can’t really jump,” his coach Kevin Wetzel told KXLY4. “There’s not a whole lot he can do. If you want to get him some action, you have to be creative.”
So Wetzel designed a play specifically for him. He goes out on a five-yard buttonhook play and the quarterback just floats the ball up to him. Even the next tallest player on the field can’t jump nearly as high as Brendan can reach.
In Brenden’s case, his 12th chromosomes don’t match. Experts don’t know why, but the middle of one of them broke off, flipped around and re-attached at the zygote stage of development, disrupting a critical gene that controls growth.
“This gene is functioning despite the regulation that it shouldn’t be,” said Dr. Gad Kletter, Brenden’s endocrinologist at Swedish Hospital in Seattle. “It’s over-functioning. He was predicted to be over eight foot tall.”
Kletter finally figured out how to stop Brenden Adam’s hyperactive growth gene – by inducing puberty. “We induced puberty,” explained Kletter about the weekly shots of testosterone, “to fuse the bones and stop the growth.”
And so far, the shots seem to be successful. Brenden’s growth has slowed down.
Brenden’s mom, Debbie Ezell, said he requires a team of doctors simply to stay on top of his ever-growing frame. He has oversized joints that restrict his movements, fatty tumors, and extra teeth – twelve of which were recently removed.
Amazingly, his dad, Willie Adams, said there was no hint of any of this when Brenden was born at 7 pounds, 3 ounces and 19 1/2 inches in length. His mom says they first started to notice something was different at his 2 month check-up. “They said, these measurements just aren’t right. He’s too long,” Ezell said. “And at four months, he had all of his teeth.”
Here is Brenden Standing with NBA all time great Shaquille O’Neal who is 7′ 1″ himself. If you have ever seen an NBA basketball game with Shaq, you might be able to get to imagine just how large they really are.