Kid Captain: Mauck walks again after overcoming Bilateral Clubfoot


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When Ally Mauck was adopted from China in 2004, coming to the United States was only half the journey.

“She came home Thanksgiving day,” Joyce Mauck, Ally’s mother, said. “She came home only speaking Chinese.”

Ally Mauck, now 10, was born with bilateral clubfoot, a deformity affecting both feet, turning them inward. The condition commonly causes people to walk on their ankles or the sides of their foot if left untreated.

Ally, who lives in Idaho with her mother, father, and older brother Jason, will be the Kid Captain at Saturday’s Homecoming football game against Minnesota.

Jose Morcuende, an University of Iowa associate professor of orthopaedic surgery, performed surgery on Ally at the UI Hospitals and Clinics.

“She’s a fighter — that’s for sure,” Morcuende said. “She had a very nice personality from the start, and after that, she was always very positive. She’s really a wonderful person and fighting to get the best result, and that’s how she got to where she is.”

The road to the UIHC was not an easy one. After being told by doctors in Utah that Ally could still be an amputee case after an extensive round of surgeries, her mother went searching for other options.

“We had worked with [the doctors in Utah],” Mauck said. “I had a feeling that we needed to make a change. I got a call from Utah, and he said the doctor wanted to meet me. He said, ‘Here’s the deal. We want you to be aware that she can still be an amputee case even after all the surgeries.’ And I thought, no way would I go back there.”

After researching some options, Mauck found the doctors at the UIHC. After speaking with the late Ignacio Ponseti — a UI physician who developed a non-surgical method to treat clubfoot — Mauck knew she had to get her daughter to Iowa City. Ponseti’s methods have since spread globally.

“It was just an amazing experience,” she said. “Both doctors really watched over her.”

After having her feet casted 17 times, Ally can now walk with ease.

“She was almost 4 years old when we started treatment,” Morcuende said. “She was the oldest kid we’ve treated in Iowa City [at that point]. One of the things that I remember is that she actually took very nicely to the casting. The feet would start getting straighter, and she was very positive throughout the whole process.”

Now walking and ice-skating, nothing holds Ally back. She said she is excited to walk out on the field and meet some Iowa football players during her stay in Iowa City this weekend.

“[I’m looking forward to] owning my own jersey,” Ally said. “I was really excited [to find out I was chosen]. It’s awesome.”

Her mother said she feels extremely blessed that Ally was chosen as the Kid Captain.

“I just felt incredibly honored that she was chosen,” she said. “I think about where she was when we brought her home from China.”

Mauck also said she is grateful for both doctors in Iowa City who helped Ally overcome the condition.

“She took her first steps with her new feet in our living room — and we’ll never forget it,” she said. “Nothing stops her, and I am so incredibly thankful for these doctors because if it wasn’t for them, I don’t know that she’s be doing all the things she is.”

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