Running on Numb: The Allie Tyler Story
“It worries you and you want to be able to help them but there is nothing you can do.” Stephanie Hester says.
The numbing feeling coming from a parent who watches her child helplessly fall into the arms of her coach.
Allie Tyler is a long-distance runner for the Buckeye cross country and track and field teams, since sixth grade she has run on varsity, representing them on the state level.
This past year, while practicing for cross country, Allie noticed something out of the ordinary.
“It was at practice and I'm like I'm just out of shape no big deal, then it got worse and she said that’s not good you really need to see a doctor about it and so I got it checked out and we're just going on from there.” said Tyler.
Allie's condition has doctors just as stumped— unlike other runners over the course of her race its not the pain that bothers Allie—its just the opposite.
“My legs start tingling its like they're falling asleep and by the third or fourth lap they lose all there feeling they just go numb.” said Tyler.
These symptoms led doctors to believe that Allie may be suffering from multiple sclerosis, but after months of testing they have ruled the crippling disease. Leading them right back to square one, not knowing what it might be.
“Possible diagnosis is Iliac Artery Syndrome and what that is when she runs and her muscles expand its actually pinching off her artery that’s causing the blood flow to be stopped to her legs.” said Hester.
This type uncertainty would strike fear into most, but being the competitor she is Allie isn't afraid of what the condition might be, she just wants the answer so she can get back to doing what she loves.
“Its pretty scary but mainly annoying because I'm just ready to get it over with and get it fixed so I can get back to running.” said Tyler.
Even with no feeling in her legs she has the ability to keep running, but when she nears the finish line she's unable to come to a standing stop. That is where coach Bryan Landry comes in, he catches Allie, saving her from further injury and carries her to the infield.
Though doctors and parents tell her she should stop, Allie is willing to pay the price in order to compete.
“My first reaction was you have to stop if this is causing you to have medical issues you need to stop and she even had a doctor tell her if this happens when you run you need to stop and she looked us both in the eye and said that's not an option.” said Hester.
The lack of feeling in her legs has pushed this 14 year old's determination into overdrive.
“You know I just said we'll take care of it we'll figure out what’s going and you may have to sit out this year and when I said that those tears immediately vanished and this like mean, determined look came out and she's like I'm running this year. It wasn't a choice, it wasn't a suggestion coach, it wasn't coach you're going to have to let me. It was I'm running this year.” Landry said. “I've never coached a young lady with this much determination this much heart.”
Allie has reached the state tournament every year since the sixth grade, but the now sophomore has even bigger goals.
“I definitely want to reach state again in track, but I want to start placing... like top three.” said Tyler.
Unlike most high schools kids, Allie doesn't take the summer off she competes in the AAU events recently finishing third in the mile at a regional meet, claiming her spot in the AAU Junior Olympics. Its more than about running, she hopes to have a deeper impact on those who see her run.
“I kind of what to be like an inspiration for them if I can run and not feel my legs they can run and feel their legs so... I just really want to inspire people.” said Tyler.
“She inspires me in daily life the way she loves life the way she keeps going she doesn't let it get her down she keeps pushing just days that I whine, I complain I just realize how blessed we are and how God has really blessed us.” said Hester.
“Without God I wouldn't be able to get through it, but if He brings me to it He'll get me through it.” said Tyler.