Sam prince at podium during 2022 NFL Draft

Columbia Pediatric Heart Transplant Patient Makes Football Draft Pick Dream Come True



For Sam Prince, who was born with a rare and complex congenital heart defect, announcing the New York Giants’ first draft pick had always been a dream. But first, he had to survive.  

“Sam had two surgeries at Columbia before he was age 1, but by age 7, he was in heart failure and needed a heart transplant and repair to the vasculature in his right lung,” says Warren Zuckerman, MD, a pediatric cardiologist on Prince’s treatment team and associate professor of pediatrics at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons.  

“Immediately after the transplant surgery, Sam was up and at ’em,” Zuckerman says. “Plenty of other kids with congenital heart disease or heart transplant will look at him and think, wow, that’s a normal kid doing normal things.” 

“Sam was always talking about wanting to go to school to be a sports broadcaster, so it was not surprising to me that that this was his make-a-wish,” says Marc Richmond, MD, another cardiologist on Prince’s team and associate professor of pediatrics at Columbia. 

This spring, 11 years after his heart transplant, his wish was granted.  

“He’s always been passionate about the Giants; he’s not faking it,” Zuckerman says. “He knows all of the college players inside and out. I’m a huge Giants fan but I can’t keep up with him.”