Broc Brown turned 18 on April 14 of last year, meaning the teen from the small town of Jackson, Michigan, could no longer “officially” qualify as the “world’s tallest teenager, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. But now, at age 19 and reaching seven feet, eight inches in height, Brown is still in his teen years and remains, even if unofficially, the world’s tallest person under 20 years of age.
Here’s what you need to know about this extraordinary young man.
1. Being the World’s Tallest Anything is Very Expensive
The Jackson community holds repeated fundraisers for Broc and his family, to help them cover the extraordinary expenses that come with being extremely tall. By the time Broc entered kindergarten at age five, he already stood five feet, two inches tall. Now, at 19 and a full two and a half feet taller than he was at a kindergartner, a single pair of specially made socks for the teen costs $18. His feet are size 28, requiring custom-made shoes and his family purchased an eight-foot-long bed to accommodate him — until he outgrows it.
Broc has not stopped growing and doctors say that they don’t know when he will stop. The youngster is sprouting toward at a rate of about six inches per year, they say.
One fundraiser brought in about $10,000, but that cash went quickly, Broc’s mom, Darci, said in a recent interview. Broc’s rapid growth rate makes his clothing useless usually after about a year.
“It didn’t last long, we had a lot of outfits but within a year he was out of them and it was time to do it all again,” Darci said.
2. Being the World’s Tallest is Also Very Painful
Due to his tremendous height and the underlying genetic disorder that causes his extreme growth, Broc suffers from a painful curvature of his spine and narrowing of his spinal cord, according to a feature on the youth by Barcroft Media. The disorders cause Broc, who generally walks using a cane, non-stop pain in his back.
“It kind of feels like a big tennis racket has gone through my back,” Broc said, in the Barcroft feature. ““I do stuff to stop it hurting and it makes me feel like there’s a needle gone through it — it’s hard to deal with. I just wish the doctors could do something to help my pain.”
The back pain is only one of the health ailments that stem from his condition. He was born with only one kidney, which prevents him from taking painkilling medications to help with his back disorder, while his size also places an undue strain on his heart.
In addition, Broc suffers from neurological issues, including Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and “intermittent explosive disorder,” a frightening condition that causes Broc to fly in uncontrollable fits of rage.
“When he gets mad, he’s mad. It wouldn’t take him two seconds to pop a hole in the wall,” his mother said. “It could be very dangerous if he wasn’t on medication and able to be calmed. But overall he is a big softie, his heart is as big as his body.”
3. The Genetic Disease Causing His Height Is Known As Sotos Syndrome
According to the National Institutes of Health, Sotos Syndrome — the genetic condition that causes Broc’s abnormal growth rate, is “a disorder characterized by a distinctive facial appearance, overgrowth in childhood, and learning disabilities or delayed development of mental and movement abilities. …Affected infants and children tend to grow quickly; they are significantly taller than their siblings and peers and have an unusually large head. However, adult height is usually in the normal range.”
That last sentence of the description, however, clearly does not apply to Broc.
Sotos Syndrome is believed to affect about one in every 15,000 human beings.
“Sotos Syndrome is sometimes called cerebral gigantism,” the Sotos Syndrome Support Association notes on its web site. “Ironically, this rapid physical development is often accompanied by delayed motor, cognitive and social development. Muscle tone is low, and speech is markedly impaired.”
4. Broc’s Height Could Soon Overtake the World’s Tallest Man
The currently recognized “world’s tallest man” is a farmer named Sultan Kosen from Mardin, Turkey, who at eight feet, three inches tall stands a full seven inches taller than Broc Brown. But if he continues his current growth rate, as doctors believe he will, Broc would pass the 33-year-old Kosen before he reaches the age of 21.
Kosen’s towering height is caused by a condition called acromegaly, which according to the Mayo Clinic is “a hormonal disorder that develops when your pituitary gland produces too much growth hormone during adulthood. When this happens, your bones increase in size, including those of your hands, feet and face.”
Medical professionals have now figured out how to bring Kosen’s growth under control, but until recently the world’s tallest man was adding about half-an-inch in height every year.
Being extremely tall has its benefits, too, however. Rosen was recently flown to the United States by Hollywood producers, to appear in a film entitled Achieving the Impossible.
Broc Recently Received the Best News Of All From His Doctors
When Broc was first diagnosed with Sotos Syndrome as an infant, doctors told his mother that she should not expect her son to live past his teenage years. But earlier this year, mom and son traveled from Michigan to Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock, Arkansas, where they met with medical geneticist Dr. Bradley Schaefer, who is an expert on Sotos Syndrome.
After evaluating Broc, Schaefer gave Broc some great news.
“Broc is easily the tallest man I have ever seen,” Scahefer said. “Unfortunately he will always have to deal with some form of pain but I believe that he will now have a regular life span.”
Obviously, the news delighted the world’s tallest teenager.
“It’s the best thing I could have heard,” Broc said. “I’m so happy that I will live for a long time.”
The shortest man ever, Chandra Bahadur Dangi, met the world’s tallest man, Sultan Kosen, in London to celebrate the 10th annual Guinness World Records Day.Click here to read more