Harker School senior staying active despite congenital malformation

Harker School senior staying active despite congenital malformation
April 25, 2013, 7:00 pm
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Kyle Roter's health hasn't stopped him from earning a 4.7 GPA. (Courtesy photo)

Robert Braunstein

You'll want to check out our next show for the story on Kyle Roter. Our Spirit of Achievement stories are always compelling, with young athletes overcoming adversity to succeed in school and in sports, but what he's accomplished is truly outstanding.

Roter loved to play all sports, but he started suffering severe headaches and dizziness. He found that with the bump and grinds of basketball and the hits of football, they would only get worse.

As time went on, the pain was so excruciating he had to give up those sports and concentrated on golf. He still had the pain, but with golf, it was manageable.

The family spent months trying to find a diagnosis, but the doctors kept saying it was allergies, or just something that would pass. In the end, the diagnosis was Chiari's Malformation, a congenital malformation of the cerebellum. He had to go through brain surgery where doctors put a patch on the cerebellum, shaved off part of his skulls, and thinned his first vertebrae to give him the space he needed to keep the cerebellum from smashing down into his spine.

After the surgery, Roter went through more pain caused by the surgery. After nearly a year of physical therapy, he is nearly pain-free. He is back playing golf and excelling in school -- with a 4.7 GPA -- and should attend one of three East Coast schools once he graduates.

For someone like Roter to be able to keep up with his school work and play golf throughout of all this is amazing. He calls himself stoic, and he is. He stays calm and even-tempered, which I'm sure helped him persevere, and is a great temperament to have for golfing.

Roter said he might study pre-med in college, so he can help others the way his doctors helped him.