High School Sports with IBD

Written by Curtis, age 18

 There is one word that soulfully describes high school sports, fast. The adrenaline pumps through your veins, your heartbeat starts to rise, you are ready to compete. 

 On the field I feel at home, I feel normal, and having this feeling while battling IBD is a wonderful feeling. When I'm wearing my jersey and running around no one can tell I have IBD—I feel accepted.

 With my IBD there were problems I faced getting to do the one thing I aspired to do, play baseball. I remember it would be Friday night in spring, the bleachers were full, and the sun was setting…everything was perfect. But then during the middle of a game my stomach turns, sharp pains in my torso start to emerge. What do I do? In my head I'm panicking, but outside I remain emotionless. I couldn't focus on anything but the cramps and the pain. Plays would happen and I wouldn't even notice, but I wish I could just call time and stop the game. 

 You can't tell everyone to hold on while I run to the bathroom. It doesn't work like that. 

 I would always just take deep breaths to try and calm my stomach, and sometimes it would work and I could continue playing. However, it was always a struggle for me to catch my coach at a time where he wasn't in the middle of something so I made sure to tell a manager or someone with authority in the dugout.

 Some tips and advice I have for other people in sports that have IBD is always communicate with your coach. Notify them that you have this disease and any changes you may endure, such as a change in drugs that cause you to be tired; they may not fully understand but at least they know. Furthermore, I am prescribed a drug that can be used as needed to stop cramping or abdomen pain. I always kept a couple of those in my bag in case I am having a bad day. Before games, I would do extra stretches to relax my abdomen, and do everything I could to have a fun and stress-free game.