December 8, 2021

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Tornado Black to have surgery Tuesday

Tornado

Tuesday is the first day of 19-year-old Alicia Black’s new life.

She will have surgery at the Vincera Institute in Philadelphia to fix a myriad of issues related to sports hernias, combined with a hip issue.

And she has a successful crowdfunding campaign and a generous benefactor to thank.

Black, a former top American junior, already had surgery on a torn right hip labrum. But that wasn’t successful. And she had been reduced to giving tennis lessons to support herself, her mother and her sister (a promising junior in her own right).

She wanted to get back to the professional circuit, but couldn’t see a way back there.

More complicated than first thought

According to a story in the New York Times, the original cost of the surgery, which Black estimated at $16,000, quadrupled as it turned out there were more severe issues than she had imagined.

The long lapse of time, and the physical job on court, made it worse. According to the Times, Black will have two sports hernias repaired. She will also have her pelvic bones shaved down and structural damage repaired. 

Enter Alan Hassenfeld, a former executive with his family’s toy company, Hasbro. Hassenfeld, a Rhode Island native, is on the board of directors of the International Tennis Hall fo Fame in Newport, RI.

The Times said he had seen the story, looked into Black’s situation, and wanted to help. We wrote about his getting in touch in an earlier piece about this.

Tornado

It began with a simple note on her crowdfunding page – the second message left – asking Black to contact Hassenfeld. If that’s how it all came about, that’s a pretty incredible story.

Another benefactor also covered the $1,8000 bill outstanding with Black’s orthodontist, per the Times. And that allowed her to finally have the remnants of the braces on her teeth removed.