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Byron High School Standout Coble Battling Rare Disease

3.0 from 2 votes
Tuesday, June 12, 2018

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BYRON, MN -  Byron High School senior Mike Coble is a competitor, having battled opponents in three different sports for the Bears over the last four years.

Now Coble's going through the toughest battle of his life.

Coble, a star athlete and captain for the Bears in football, basketball and track, is facing Guillain-Barre Syndrome, a rare disease with no cure that causes the body's immune system to attack the peripheral nervous system. The disease is so rare, in fact, that only 1 in 100,000 people is affected by it.

The disease strikes at any age. In Coble's case, the disease acted fast and caused numbness in his hands, feet and face, and also caused a severe rash. The symptoms got so bad over the course of around five days that Coble had to be hospitalized immediately at Mayo Clinic Hospital–Saint Marys.

"The night before (Coble) came in, he was up at 4 a.m. and his face was just really numb," friend and teammate Kaden Koski said. "He was at a friend's house and he drove home to his mom and they rushed to the ER."

Upon entering the hospital, Coble's condition started to worsen. At one point, he was listed in critical but stable condition due to breathing issues, but is breathing normally now, according to friends.


The group says that Coble's condition has improved to the point where he's responsive. Koski and friend Bjorn Knutson note that Coble can understand what people are saying when they talk to him, and nod or squeeze their hands in response.

The news of Coble's condition sent shock waves through Byron and the high school, where students are questioning why something like this would happen to a well-liked person who had seemingly everything going for him.

"It's like, 'Why Mike?,'" Knutson said. "It's just unexpected. Out of everyone, it's someone who, a lot of time has been put into his body for sports, and that's been taken away from him temporarily. It is going to be taken away from him for quite a while, too."

Before he was diagnosed with GBS, Coble had committed to playing football for Minnesota State University, Mankato this fall. According to friends, Coble had his pick of playing football or basketball in college (he's currently the Bears all-time leading scorer in basketball) and was on the fence about which sport he would pick.

Coble chose football, however, after he started receiving offers from Division 1 schools such as South Dakota State and the University of North Dakota. Despite the D1 offers, Coble chose to stay close to home and play for the Mavericks.

Because of Coble's condition, however, those plans have been put on hold. While there is no cure for GBS, most people do recover to live full lives, according to the Mayo Clinic. However, Coble's friends say that recovery will likely be a long one, with the worst likely yet to come before he starts improving.

"That's the hardest part, knowing that it'll get worse before it gets better," Kuntson said. "With there being no cure, it's pretty much a time game."

Raising money

With Coble likely in the hospital for an extended period of time, friends and coaches are doing everything they can to try and ease the burden on Coble's family. A GoFundMe page started by Knutson, "Mike's GBS Journey," was set up to raise at least $20,000 for medical expenses.

News of the page has quickly spread, thanks in large part to social media. A Twitter link to the page had nearly 600 retweets, and more than $5,000 was raised in the first two days. However, friends say more help is still needed to reach the goal.

In addition to the GoFundMe Page, Buffalo Wild Wings in Rochester will hold a fundraiser on Tuesday in which 10 percent of all sales will go to Coble's family. Fundraiser T-shirts will soon be available for $20, and a CaringBridge page is currently being used to provide updates on Coble's condition.

Ideally, the group says that they'd like to surpass the goal set on the page. This is due to the fact that Coble currently can't work and will have other upcoming expenses on top of medical bills.

"We want money to be the last worry," Knutson said. "The community has really come together, not even just here but throughout the state."

While the money is important, people close to Coble emphasize that people can also help in other ways. Players and Byron head football coach Ben Halder said that prayers and support are needed and appreciated just as much.

People can also donate other items, such as gift cards, to the family. Although the family isn't currently taking visitors, Halder noted that he'd been in contact with the Cobles and relayed they'd be grateful for any help they can get.

"(The Cobles) are great people, and I know they appreciate it," Halder said. "No amount is too small, no amount is too big. We're all community and when one person is hurting, we're all hurting."

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18 First Ave. S.E.
Rochester, MN 55903
Phone: 800-562-1758 or 507-285-7600

Author: Spencer Suckow
3.0 from 2 votes
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