Coach Mike Owens, Living With Diabetes - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News


Coach Mike Owens, Living With Diabetes

One in three Americans who have diabetes do not even know it. That's why the American Diabetes Association works diligently every year to raise awareness. One of the way they do that, is through "America's Walk For Diabetes," which is coming up in Tyler.

In this report, we focus on this year's Honorary Walk Chair. He is someone very familiar to East Texans, but many may not be familiar with his struggle with diabetes. It was December 11, 2004, a day Robert E Lee Football Coach Mike Owens will never forget. His team won the State Class 5A Division I Football Championship.

But three years earlier, he was facing an even bigger battle, a personal one. "I knew something was wrong. I had some numbness in my left foot and toes and I felt horrible. I'd go out to practice and I couldn't hardly stand up when I get back in."

A couple years before his symptoms started, Coach Owens was warned he was border line diabetic. "When I first saw Coach Owens his main problem was his diet and exercise and being over weight," explains Dr. Meg Reitmeyer, Endocrinologist with Trinity Clinic in Tyler.

"Like I've told Dr. Reitmeyer, I earned my own. There's no doubt about it because I was warned ahead of time and didn't do anything about it. As a result, I'm now type II diabetic," says Coach Owens.

People with Type II Diabetes make some insulin, but not enough. Coach

Owens began monitoring his blood sugar daily. He was put on medication to try to control his diabetes. Coach Owens says, "Well, I lost about 45 pounds and of course I don't exercise a whole lot but I'm out moving around on the football field."

He also significantly changed his diet. Not only what he ate, but when he ate. "It's hard with his schedule to follow the diet closely, but he really made a lot of changes. He's not even taking medication now because he's been able to control it with diet and exercise," says Dr. Reitmeyer.

To keep it under control, Coach Owens knows it will be a daily struggle. That's because his mother and grandfather were both diabetic.

"Especially with a family history. You're going to get it unless you take care not to. You've got to make an effort not to become diabetic," says Coach Owens.

Winning a State Championship is a great accomplishment, but Coach Owens knows the biggest game of his life is yet to be won. "In the long run, I think it will be beating diabetes because you keep forgetting about it. I don't feel any different now than I did before I had it."

"America's Walk For Diabetes" is November 5 at Bergfeld Park in Tyler.

Registration is at 8:00 am, with the walk beginning at 9:00 am. The walk raises funds for advocacy and education, as well as research.

For more information, go back to our homepage and click on the "Know More on 7" icon on the right side. Then, click on "Diabetes Walk."

Gillian Sheridan, reporting.

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