The Man Who was Born a Dwarf and Died a Giant
The story of Adam Rainer
Adam Rainer is the only man in history to have been recorded as a dwarf and a giant during his lifetime. At the age of 21 Adam was a little over 4 feet tall. Many have speculated as to whether Adam had wished that he would grow taller because at the time of his death Adam was a giant as he was over 7 feet tall. However, his extreme height was accompanied by many complications thus epitomizing the expression, “be careful what you wish for.”
Who was Adam Rainer?
Adam Rainer was born in 1899 in Graz, Austria. Not a lot is known about Adam’s personal life. This is because the interest surrounding his life stems from his peculiar condition that led him to being both a dwarf and a giant in his lifetime. Besides this point, nothing else about his life was of particular interest to the world at large.
Adam’s parents were both of average height. When World War I broke out in 1914, Adam enlisted in the army. At this point Adam was only 4 feet 6 inches tall. Because of his height, doctors classified him as a dwarf and therefore too weak to be a productive soldier. They thought that he would be a liability rather than a useful addition to the army.
Despite being refused entry into the army, Adam remained determined to serve. A year later, Adam had grown a further 2 inches in height and again enlisted to join the army. He was again rejected on the basis of his height.
Dwarfism is generally characterized as a height of 4 feet 10 inches and below. At the age of 19, Adam was only 4 feet 8 inches tall. He was therefore still classified as a dwarf. His medical records also show that he was very thin.
However, despite being very short and thin Adam had abnormally large hands and feet. His hands measured 23.9 cm (9.4 inches). It has been recorded that at the time Adam first tried to enlist in the army he wore shoes that were an EU 43 (US 10). His shoe size had doubled to an EU 53 (US 20) by the time he tried to enlist in the army the second time. This was an abnormally large shoe size for a man of his very short height.
At 4 feet 8 inches, Adam’s shoe size was a size US 20 which is larger than 7 foot 6 inches tall Yao Ming, an NBA basketball player whose shoe size is a US 18.
At the age of 21 when most people stop growing, Adam began growing at an alarming rate. In 1932 when Adam was aged 33 he had reached the height of 7 feet 2 inches. Alongside his extreme growth spurt Adam also developed a severe spinal curvature.
What caused Adam’s growth spurt?
Doctors were shocked by Adam’s sudden growth spurt. Two doctors in particular began conducting tests on Adam and examining him to try and establish the cause of his sudden growth spurt. Dr. Mandl and Dr. Windholz came to the conclusion that Adam suffered from acromegaly. This was as a result of a tumor growing on Adam’s pituitary gland.
Acromegaly is a hormonal disorder that develops when the pituitary gland produces too much growth hormone during adulthood. When this happens, the bones increase in size, including those of the hands, feet and face. A few famous wrestlers suffer from the condition including Andre the Giant and The Great Khali.
Adam had the typical features of someone with acromegaly. These included his enlarged hands and feet. His face was extremely elongated as a result of his protruding forehead and jaw. In addition to that his lips were a lot thicker than the average human being and his teeth were widely spaced.
Adam’s condition worsened
Dr. Mandl and Dr. Windholz decided to operate on Adam in an attempt to remove the tumor and stop Adam’s continued growth. They were aware that the operation had a slim chance of success because at this point the tumor had already been growing for over ten years.
Months after the surgery, Adam was measured. he had not grown any taller but his spinal curvature had worsened which indicated that he was still growing, although at a much slower rate.
Adam’s health took a nose dive as he started suffering from hearing loss and went blind in his right eye. The spinal curvature also worsened resulting in Adam being confined to a bed. He was bed ridden for the rest of his life.
Adam died on the 4th of March, 1950. He was only 51. At the time of his death Adam was 7 feet 8 inches tall. He remains the only man in history to have ever been a dwarf and a giant in his lifetime.