As a part of the #MyReasonWhy
campaign, the mother of two-sport Granite City High School student-athlete Isaiah Mizell explains that her son participates in high school sports to better himself, and help inspire others to overcome adversity:
I wanted to share my son Isaiah's story. Isaiah is a junior at Granite City High School in Granite City. He is currently serving on the IHSA Student Advisory Committee and mentioned this campaign after his last IHSA SAC meeting. He told me that he thought it was a great way to promote getting teenagers involved in athletics and other school/community activities. Isaiah has a good story. However, I know he's very busy right now with his honors classes, baseball and all of his other activities so I will share it with you. Isaiah has participated in various sports since age four when he began with T-ball. When he could no longer play soccer and football due to a couple of concussions, he found a way to still be active by playing basketball in junior high, and continued to play baseball. His freshman year he discovered his love of running by doing cross country in the fall and continuing to play baseball, which is his ultimate passion, in the spring and summer. In August 2015, he was diagnosed with a congenital heart condition known as Wolff-Parkinson-White (WPW) Syndrome. He was unable to run cross country with his team that season until his heart surgery on October 2, 2015. He was released to run after 10 days and managed to run a race on October 16th. He has always been the type of person to turn a negative situation into a positive one and look for the good in any situation. Since he was unable to run after his initial diagnosis until after his surgery, he asked his coach if he could be a manager. As a manager, he was able to still be with his teammates, encourage them, and help out. He was able to play baseball for his school's spring and summer team without further incidents. During this past fall semester cross country season however, he began having a few episodes again toward the end of the season. He was put on a heart monitor for six weeks last month and he has about two weeks left with it. He was able to tryout for baseball and made the team again last week as a lefty pitcher. Even though he has been dealing with his congenital heart disease, he has maintained his positive attitude and his love of baseball and running. He also has a strong desire to be a positive example to his teammates and others by showing them that no matter what your injury, medical condition or circumstance, you can still be involved in sports by encouraging your team, becoming a manager, or keeping stats, and to never give up by finding ways to stay active and involved. He also believes that physical activity also contributes to good mental health and a positive attitude overall. Isaiah believes that it's important to be involved in school activities and sports because you can develop friendships, discipline and leadership skills. Isaiah has been blessed with a great Athletic Director (Mr. Moad) and great coaches (Coach Skirball, Coach Smallie, and Coach Harrison). Isaiah is a humble guy and good, strong leader with a sometimes quiet leadership style, but he will gladly share his story because he knows that it might help someone else.