Meet Vicki Strong wife of Charlie Strong, Head Coach, University of Texas. Vicki, whose motto is “Faith, Family and Football,” shares a life changing event that brought these three values front and center.
“It started in 2006-2007 when I was diagnosed with a Chiari Malformation and had surgery a year later. Overcoming the physical, emotional and mental part was the challenging part. It helped me to grow in my faith. I realized I am not really in control but God is in control. I tend to worry. I thought there was never going to be a day I didn’t think about it. The surgery was successful and I feel really good now. Now I can talk about it without fear and I feel like I have come full circle with it. We actually just had a player who was recently diagnosed with the same condition and I had the opportunity to talk with the player’s mother. It was a very personal way to be there for one of our players.”
Louisville Cardinal – Hunter Bowles
Twenty year old Hunter Bowles was a tight end at the time for the University of Louisville Cardinals Football Team. Hunter began to experience tightness in his mid-back, tingling in his arms, fatigue, numbness and weakness when gripping his hands. Hunter was scheduled for a MRI. A cyst was discovered in the spinal cord. His physician identified the cyst being caused by a condition called Chiari Malformation. Hunter was referred to a neurosurgeon in Louisville.
As Hunter and his family wrestled with what the future might hold, many things were happening behind the scenes. Head Coach Charlie Strong assured Hunter he fully supported whatever he needed to do. Coach Strong went home and told his wife of Hunter’s diagnosis. Having had the same condition and surgery herself, Vicki Strong called Hunter’s mom, Ashley. She knew of excellent surgeons in Florida and had been in touch with them to coordinate a meeting. To Mrs. Bowles, these encounters were like godsends. Hunter had surgery in September, 2013. He had been awaiting a follow up to see if he could return to football. (Jennifer Reynolds, CartWheels, Spring 2014) Hunter played for the 2014 Louisville Cards.