Young Ohio State fan to heart doctors: Don't make me a Michigan fan

The Michigan-Ohio State rivalry is one young Ivan Applin takes seriously. (USATSI)
The Michigan-Ohio State rivalry is one young Ivan Applin takes seriously. (USATSI)

Kids, as it goes, say the darnedest things.

In the case of 10-year-old Ohio State fan Ivan Applin of Toledo, Ohio, that means asking if the doctors at Mott Children's Hospital at the University of Michigan could kindly not change his college football allegiance during a recent heart procedure. A must-read post at the Hott hospital blog explains:

As pediatric cardiologist Dr. Ronald Grifka showed 10-year-old Ivan Applin the wire-framed device that would be used to fix the holes in his heart, the Toledo fourth grader had just one burning concern.

“He asked if the Michigan doctors were going to make his heart love University of Michigan instead of Ohio State,” his mother Jennifer laughs.

Aaaaaaaand now is when your local Buckeye fan points out the difference in records between the two programs in 2014, and says Applin's concern is, in fact, entirely understandable.

Jokes aside, though, Applin's story is remarkable: he and an adoptive sister, Yana, were adopted from a Russian orphanage five years ago by Jennifer and Neal Applin, who discovered through the adoption process that Ivan suffered from a heart defect. When the defect did not resolve itself as Ivan grew older, he became one of the first patients at Mott to receive a "Cardioform," a "device made out of a synthetic, permeable fabric over a thin wire frame [that] acts like a plug that is designed to close holes in the heart."

But as of now, about the only thing the Mott doctors seemingly can't do is rearrange their patient's college football fandom -- though here's a guess that after Ivan's experience, the Applins might have a soft spot for some things Wolverine after all.  

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