Peyton Manning’s Cleft Palate — Super Bowl QB faced Challenges


Headshot of Peyton Manning in orange Broncos uniform

Manning ’12 WikiCmns J Beall

Peyton Manning’s experience with a Cleft Palate.

Peyton Manning was born with a cleft palate on March 24, 1976 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Today, he’s an outstanding NFL (National Football League) quarterback for the Denver, Broncos. He is a son of former NFL quarterback Archie Manning and an elder brother of New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning.

Peyton faced many obstacles with his disabilty: a cleft palate is a condition in which the two plates of the skull that form the hard palate–more commonly known as the roof of the mouth–are not completely joined at birth.

Feeding Challenges

When he was a baby, a lot of the times when his mom was feeding him, the milk his mom gave him just flowed out of his nose constantly, because of the hole on the roof of Peyton’s mouth that connects the his nose,but their were special bottles that Peyton had to use as a baby.

Dental Challenges

As a child, Peyton had braces from ages 4 to 15, because his cleft palate caused him to have crooked teeth, as well as extra teeth. He had to visit dentists constantly.

Bullying  Challenges

Peyton was bullied growing up, because of his physical appearance. Kids called him ugly, freak, and things of that nature.

Treatment for Peyton Manning’s Cleft Palate 

Growing up Peyton had to have at least 2 surgeries over the course of 18 years to make sure to the roof of his mouth was securely closed.

Peyton  also needed a bone graft when he was about 8 years old to fill his upper gum line so that it could support permanent teeth and stabilize his the upper jaw.

For pictures of clefts and explanation of closure treatments and the bone graft Peyton required, see the great presentation by  Emily Pennington.  

This blog is partly based on Pennington’s presentation released on December 4, 2013, presumably by SmileTrain. Thanks to all involved, especially for the bibliography cited below.

Manning has not forgotten his roots

The Pediatric Craniofacial Center at Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital at St.Vincent provides diagnosis and treatment for more than 60 disorders or deformities in which cosmetic and functional improvement would benefit the patient.

One of only six centers in North America designated for the Cleft Palate National Outcomes Project, the Pediatric Craniofacial Center has treated more than 800 infants and children. Its 31-member team, with more than 20 years average experience, represents some 17 specialties. The Pediatric Craniofacial Center offers a Cleft Palate Program, an Orthognathic Surgery Program, and a Craniofacial Program.


Manning ’12 WikiCmns J Beall

Inc., Wikimedia Wikimedia Foundation. “Cleft Lip and Palate.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 30 Nov. 2013. Web. 02 Dec. 2013. <>.

“KidsHealth.” Cleft Lip and Palate. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Dec. 2013. <>.

“The Peyton Manning Story.” The Classical. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Dec. 2013. <>.

“The Peyton Manning Story.” The Classical. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Dec. 2013. <>.


To learn about CLEFT HEART: Chasing Normal, click the Amazon or Barnes & Noble buttons in the margins. Or click the image of the book cover. My coming-of-age memoir has intertwining love stories, mystery, tragedy, and triumph.


  1. Thanks for the shout out for the good work being done.


  1. It is obvious that these causes are important and personal to him: Carolina Pediatric Therapy and Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital at Ascension St. Vincent – Indianapolis Pediatric Rehabilitation.

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