A Minnesota High School Athlete Faces Guillain-Barre Syndrome

According to a story from apnews.com, Mike Coble, a senior at Byron High School in southeastern Minnesota, was recently diagnosed with Guillain-Barre syndrome. Mike is on three different sports teams at the school, but the debilitating effects of the syndrome has put his athletic activity on hold for now. Mike first experienced numbness in his hands, face, and feet.
Guillain-Barre syndrome is a disease that causes rapid onset muscle weakness. This occurs because the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the peripheral nervous system and damages the myelin sheath, an insulating cover that protects neurons and is essential for their proper functioning. The symptoms of loss of sensation almost always first appear in the hands and feet. Over time muscle weakness affects the arms and legs. The neck muscles can also become affected. Some patients also have trouble breathing, requiring mechanical ventilation. The symptoms can develop as rapidly as a few hours to several weeks before reaching peak severity. Muscle weakness then stabilizes, and usually begins to improve in about a week, but can last much longer. The recovery process can also take months or years in some cases. About a third of patients have some permanent muscle weakness. To learn more about Guillain-Barre syndrome, click here.

While Mike still can’t speak, he is able to understand what others around him are saying and appears to be beyond the peak of his symptoms. At one point, he was having breathing issues, requiring hospitalization. Mike’s friends and teammates have kicked off a GoFundMe page that is intended to help cover his medical costs, and are hoping to raise at least $20,000.

Mike was a part of the football, basketball and track team at Byron High. He was also planning to play football for Minnesota State University in the fall, but until he has managed to recover completely, that will not be happening.

His teammates Kaden Koski and Bjorn Knutson have taken the time to visit Mike in the hospital. For them, it is frustrating to see their friend stuck in the hospital. Unfortunately, there is little more that the boys can do besides fundraise and support him through his recovery. How long it will take is still a mystery.

To donate to help Mike’s expenses, click here.

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