Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Great Story on a High School Athlete with Crohn's Disease

As most of you know, I love stories about athletes with Crohn's. I personally remain very involved with sports and was diagnosed with Crohn's while playing Collegiate Soccer for Castleton in Vermont. Enjoy this article about a Beaumont, Texas high school athlete with Crohn's Disease.

There's no stammering or stuttering. There's no "I need time to think about that one" kind of statement. Hamshire-Fannett senior outfielder Jeremy Pinder and his father, Lee, remember exactly what happened Oct. 12, 2007. That's the day Pinder, now 18, was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease, a life-altering stomach illness with no cure that destroys the small intestine.

"As a parent I broke down, it was hard," Lee Pinder said. "He'll have it for the rest of his life and the doctors said he may not able to play sports. I am a single dad and it's tough because I love my son. Still, it was amazing that six days later he was begging to play sports. It was amazing that he got sick and he never gave up."

Six days after being diagnosed Pinder played in H-F's final football game of the season.
In the nineteen months since being diagnosed, Pinder lettered in baseball, basketball, football and track and did not miss a single game during his senior season. And if you think this story can't get any better, it does.

That's because Pinder signed a National Letter of Intent to play baseball at Southland Conference school Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.

"Hard work gets you to where you to where you want to be," Pinder said. "It's pretty much what I've done. I've made sure everything was still OK. I don't know how to put it other than to say that it just takes hard work and dedication."

One of 140,000
Nearly 1.4 million Americans are affected by inflammatory bowel diseases and 140,000 of them are children under the age of 18, according to the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America.
Pinder became one of those 140,000 just hours after he was taken to the hospital.
During football season, Pinder started getting sick and his stomach started giving him problems.
He sat out a week and started playing again.

"The day before we played Silsbee I went to the doctor and I was supposed to have some tests for that Friday," Pinder said. "I told him that I have a football game and that I couldn't let down my team."

Twenty-four hours later, he knew something was up. After all, this was a guy who was flying around a football field making catches and blocking cornerbacks.

Now, he could barely walk around his home because the stomach pain was so great.
"The day I went to the doctor's office before I found out I had it, I weighed around 175 pounds," he said. "And that Sunday, when they told me I had Crohn's, they told me that I had lost 12 to 15 pounds. That came as a shock to me because I didn't realize that it had happened."

Road to Recovery
It's a simple routine for Pinder these days.
Wake up. Go to school. Take eight pills a day for the rest of his life. Go to practice. Go home and eat a dinner that's a far cry from what he was eating two or three years ago.
"He's probably more selective in what he eats," said Dr. Joseph Holland, of the Southeast Texas Gastroenology Associates in Beaumont. "With most people it affects primarily their small intestine and that is important for absorption especially when it comes to food and so forth."
While getting adjusted to that routine, Pinder found time to travel south to a baseball showcase at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.

It was at the showcase where he impressed the team's coaching staff.
"Those coaches said he ran fastest time in 60-yard dash they ever saw. They were really interested," Lee Pinder recalled. "Lamar called him right after they saw him talking to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi after a game at Vincent-Beck Stadium and offered him a red shirt season next year."

Pinder said he chose A&M-Corpus Christi because he liked the coaching staff and its laid back way of life reminded him of home. Pinder said he told the coaches about his condition and they respected him for his honesty. But before he goes south, he wants to help H-F, which placed second in District 21-3A, go far in the playoffs.

"You can't let things get you down and stay positive at all times. At first, I was scared because I thought I wouldn't be able to play any more sports," Pinder said. "But I have been keeping my body healthy and have stayed positive about everything. You can't let your dream's go to waste."

Hamshire-Fannett senior Jeremy Pinder has excelled at baseball well enough to earn a scholarship to play next season at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi despite the rigors of living with Crohn's Disease, a life-altering stomach illness with no cure that destroys the small intestine.

A list of professional athletes with Crohn's and other inflammatory bowel diseases:
u David Garrard, quarterback, Jacksonville Jaguars
u Theoren Fleury, retired hockey player who played with the Calgary Flames
u Kevin Dineen, retired hockey player who played 18 years in the National Hockey League
u Shayne Corson, retired hockey player who played 15 years in the NHL
u Al Geiberger, professional golfer who won the 1966 PGA Championship
u Chris Gedney, retired tight end who played with the Arizona Cardinals and Chicago Bears
u Steve Redgrave, won five consecutive Olympic gold medals for rowing
u Rolf Benirschke, retired kicker who played for the San Diego Chargers
u George Steele, retired wrestler


Anonymous said...

I love that you post these articles!

It's always encouraging when you live with this disease to see others fighting and excelling beyond its limitations.

Thanks again for posting...

Anonymous said...

you can add Dajuan Wagner, the former NBA player, to the list of professional athletes with IBD. He had his colon removed a few years ago.

Jeremy Pinder said...

I never knew there was a section of articles about people with crohn's disease i just looked up and i saw my name with a 1 beside it. I had no clue it was goin to be the article of me in high school i just thought it only was going to stay in beaumont. I appreciate you being this on here. i always look forward to motivating other people and for people to notice you can do anything even if there are speed bumps in the way.

Scottie Roy said...

I am so glad to hear from you Jeremy. You inspired me and many others. How are you doing now?

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