Dec 28, 2010
School Gives Gift Of Lifetime To Coach With ALS

PRYOR, Okla. – Todd Hicks has coached the varsity girls’ basketball team at Pryor High School for the past three seasons. And as is the case with any coach there are hurdles along the way that you have to overcome.

For Hicks, this was supposed to be a season in which seniors would line his roster. Injuries though, meant his game plan of having six upperclassmen would have to be rewritten to accommodate only two.

But that wouldn’t be the biggest challenge facing the 38-year-old coach.

Hicks was diagnosed in March with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease.”

ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord, which leads to loss of control of the muscles in the body. According to the ALS Association, with voluntary muscle action progressively affected, patients in the later stages of the disease may become totally paralyzed.

It’s a disease for which there is no cure.

During a checkup this summer, Hicks was told he had a “form of ALS” and that while he would lose the use of his arms and legs, he wouldn’t die from it. Great news.

But in November, Hicks’ doctor changed his diagnosis. He had full-blown ALS – the disease was showing signs of progression.

“It’s hard, said Hicks. The biggest problem is the little things – getting dressed, turning keys. I get cramps in my hands and feet.”

The struggles however, haven’t kept Hicks from hitting the gymnasium and leading his young women on the basketball court.

He says he gets a lot of help from his assistants, and his team has been “real strong” about his condition. He’s even getting support from the community.

After the December 4th game against Skiatook, a game they lost, Hicks was surprised to see Pryor School’s superintendant walk onto the court and grab a microphone.

Not having any idea what was happening, and because his team “just got our tails kicked, Hicks’ initial thought was Superintendant Don Raleigh was going to fire me right here.”

Not the case at all.

Raleigh was there to present Hicks with a check to cover the expenses for a trip to see his beloved Duke Blue Devils take on the Miami Hurricanes on January 2 at legendary Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, North Carolina.

The crowd inside the gymnasium gave him a standing ovation and the moment proved too much as Hicks later “had to go back to my office and compose myself.”

“Never in a million years have I dreamed of going to see a game there, Hicks told 2NEWS.

Co-workers, coaches from opposing teams, and the community pooled their money together to give the coach the gift of a lifetime. The money covers airfare for him and his wife, hotel, rental car, two tickets to the game and spending money while they’re there.

He says with each passing day he gets more excited, and that he’s not really sure it’s sunk in yet.”

But what has sunk in is Hicks’ determination.

After the season, he and the school’s athletic director will sit down and discuss next season. As far as Hicks is concerned, this is just another obstacle for which he has to map out a game plan.

“If I can physically do it, I’m gonna do it, he says. I’m planning on coaching as long as I can.”

School Gives Gift Of Lifetime To Coach With ALS

KJRH.com (Okla.)

PRYOR, Okla. – Todd Hicks has coached the varsity girls’ basketball team at Pryor High School for the past three seasons. And as is the case with any coach there are hurdles along the way that you have to overcome.

For Hicks, this was supposed to be a season in which seniors would line his roster. Injuries though, meant his game plan of having six upperclassmen would have to be rewritten to accommodate only two.

But that wouldn’t be the biggest challenge facing the 38-year-old coach.

Hicks was diagnosed in March with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease.”

ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord, which leads to loss of control of the muscles in the body. According to the ALS Association, with voluntary muscle action progressively affected, patients in the later stages of the disease may become totally paralyzed.

It’s a disease for which there is no cure.

During a checkup this summer, Hicks was told he had a “form of ALS” and that while he would lose the use of his arms and legs, he wouldn’t die from it. Great news.

But in November, Hicks’ doctor changed his diagnosis. He had full-blown ALS – the disease was showing signs of progression.

“It’s hard, said Hicks. The biggest problem is the little things – getting dressed, turning keys. I get cramps in my hands and feet.”

The struggles however, haven’t kept Hicks from hitting the gymnasium and leading his young women on the basketball court.

He says he gets a lot of help from his assistants, and his team has been “real strong” about his condition. He’s even getting support from the community.

After the December 4th game against Skiatook, a game they lost, Hicks was surprised to see Pryor School’s superintendant walk onto the court and grab a microphone.

Not having any idea what was happening, and because his team “just got our tails kicked, Hicks’ initial thought was Superintendant Don Raleigh was going to fire me right here.”

Not the case at all.

Raleigh was there to present Hicks with a check to cover the expenses for a trip to see his beloved Duke Blue Devils take on the Miami Hurricanes on January 2 at legendary Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, North Carolina.

The crowd inside the gymnasium gave him a standing ovation and the moment proved too much as Hicks later “had to go back to my office and compose myself.”

“Never in a million years have I dreamed of going to see a game there, Hicks told 2NEWS.

Co-workers, coaches from opposing teams, and the community pooled their money together to give the coach the gift of a lifetime. The money covers airfare for him and his wife, hotel, rental car, two tickets to the game and spending money while they’re there.

He says with each passing day he gets more excited, and that he’s not really sure it’s sunk in yet.”

But what has sunk in is Hicks’ determination.

After the season, he and the school’s athletic director will sit down and discuss next season. As far as Hicks is concerned, this is just another obstacle for which he has to map out a game plan.

“If I can physically do it, I’m gonna do it, he says. I’m planning on coaching as long as I can.”






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