Page 138 - South Mississippi Living - June, 2022
P. 138

     story by John N. Felsher photos courtesy of the Seymour Family
Playing two completely different sports can be difficult and time consuming for anyone, even more so when both sports compete at the same time.
Garner Seymour rose to that challenge. The 17-year-old will start his senior year at Biloxi High in the fall. A relief pitcher on the school baseball team, he also plays golf. In May, he placed third out of 126 golfers at the 6A Mississippi High School State Championship.
“Playing one sport doesn’t really affect the other because I don’t hit in baseball,” Garner says. “I might go to a golf tournament in the morning and play baseball in the eve- ning.”
Garner inherited his athletic prowess from his father, Ron- nie Seymour, who played college sports. Garner’s brother also plays sports and got Garner interested in baseball.
“We are very fortunate that Garner’s baseball and golf coaches both make it easy for him to participate in each sport,” Ronnie explains. “The Biloxi public schools athletic departments have always bent over backwards to accommo- date kids who want to play multiple sports.”
For most people, playing two diverse sports at the same time would present enough of a challenge. However, Garner must face another major hurtle, one that he must master for the rest of his life. At five years old, about the time he began playing golf, Garner was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. He must constantly control it with a good diet, insulin injections and other medications.
“Because of his diabetes, Garner prepares himself with the proper meals before a big golf or baseball tournament,” Ronnie advises. “He’s been doing it so long that we know
what carbs he’s going to burn and what his carbohydrate intake needs to be.”
Often, Type 1 diabetes runs in a family, but the Seymours found no evidence of that in their family history. Ronnie theorizes that a stomach virus Garner caught about two weeks before his diabetes diagnosis contributed to it.
“Doctors think the virus attacked Garner’s pancreas, which led to his diabetes,” Ronnie recalls. “It was scary at first, but Garner never used his condition as a crutch. He just wants to be treated like everyone else. He’s learned to live with it and manage himself.”
Falling sugar levels can make a diabetic woozy, shaky, weak and disoriented. On the golf course, Garner can grab a snack out of his bag between swings. On a baseball dia- mond, he can’t just pull a snack out of his pocket to boost his sugar.
“I don’t think having diabetes affects my athletic abilities for either sport,” Garner remarks. “I just watch what I eat. My coaches and teammates are all very supportive of me. My golf coach drives around on his cart and checks on me periodically. I’ve had times when my sugar was a little bit low while on the baseball field, but I’ve never had a serious problem. We would call ‘time’ and my mom or coach would bring me a Coke or something to eat to get my sugar up.”
Still a year from his high school graduation, colleges already began looking at the young athlete. He wants to attend Louisiana State University on a full golf scholarship, or possibly attend a junior college for two years and then transfer to a university. He dreams of one day playing golf professionally.
138 | June 2022 | SOUTH MISSISSIPPI Living
Student Plays Two Sports Despite His Medical Condition

   136   137   138   139   140