Every Tuesday we recognize a special young athlete, both here and on social media, battling IBD and refusing to let their disease hold them back from reaching their goals both on and off the field/court.
Have an athlete that you would like to nominate for Teammate of the Week?
Send us an email with a brief story and photos to firstname.lastname@example.org!
Today’s AVC #TeammateoftheWeek is New England Patriots Hall of Famer Matt Light!
An offensive tackle for the Patriots from 2001-2011, Matt has 3 Super Bowl Rings and competed in 3
Pro Bowl games. Matt was diagnosed with Crohn’s as a NFL rookie in 2001, and ended up losing
50 pounds and having surgery to remove 13 inches of his intestine 3 years later. Refusing to let IBD
keep him down for long, he returned to the field that fall to lead his team to another
Matt’s advice to others battling IBD? “If I can play professional sports and find a way to live with
this disease, then you have some hope. Everyone battles it differently, but your mindset and staying
positive are so important. Educate yourself and know that there are resources out there for you.”
Thanks for being willing to share your story, Matt – we are so inspired by your strength!
Our first AVC #TeammateoftheWeek from 2022 is Megan from from Cleveland, OH!
Megan, who just turned 10 on Christmas Eve, was diagnosed with Crohn’s one year ago and has
continued to play soccer throughout her journey with IBD. Below is what Megan’s mom Joyce had
to say about her amazing daughter:
“In January of 2020, Megan had a cardiac exam due to shortness of breath on the soccer field and was
found to have a congenital heart defect. Megan’s 3 large holes in her heart (atrial septal defects)
were repaired via open heart surgery at The Cleveland Clinic in June of 2020. She had to avoid sports
for 3 months following her surgery, which was very difficult for such an active girl. One of her soccer
coaches through North Royalton Rec kept Megan’s spirits up by encouraging her work on her foot skills
under physician guidance. In addition, he reached out to the owner of Upper 90 Futbol Club, who
happily agreed to work with Megan during those few months following surgery to keep her mentally &
Megan returned to the soccer field on the very day her 90 days were met. Soon after her return, Megan
began having gastric issues, lost weight, & became infected with H. Pylori & C. Diff. and was found
to have moderate to severe Crohn’s. She never complained and played soccer through her Crohn’s
flare! At times she falls on the field, but quickly jumps up and gets right back in the game. Her Crohn’s
has been well managed with Remicade Infusions every 4-5 weeks at Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital.
She continues to play soccer with North Royalton Rec and this past year became a member of the
Upper 90 Girls Soccer Club team. Her Rec and Club coaches have supported Megan throughout
her challenges and have contributed to Megan’s positive outlook and love for soccer, which we are so
thankful for! Megan is such a strong and kind child, and has faced multiple challenges with such
a positive attitude!”
You are such an inspiration, Megan, and we are thrilled to have you on our team vs. Crohn’s!