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Caldwell in best health of his life, finallyPosted Wednesday, April 14, 2010, at 9:12 PM
Eastern Greene's Mike Caldwell is shown earlier in his career, cheering on his Lady Thunderbirds at the cross country meet at White River Valley High School. (By B.J. Hargis/Greene County Daily World).
But it was last year when Caldwell was stricken with a mysterious illness that zapped his energy and left him with chronic fatigue and pain.
"I was dizzy and could hardly work," said Caldwell, a 1973 Washington High School graduate. "I was extremely tired all the time.
"It was really awfully."
After consulting with friends and doctors, Caldwell was finally correctly diagnosed. He had an inner ear virus.
Sounds harmless enough, but he was advised it would take 8-9 months to heal.
"I really didn't want to hear it," said Caldwell, who still coaches the high school girls cross country team. "The doctor told me that the chronic phase would happen first, when things were the worst.
"Then there would be a middle phase and then a light phase, where all of the symptoms would eventually go away. The disease took the exact course that the doctor said it would and the antibiotics eventually worked. It was really rough for a while. But I am well now. In fact, I am in the best health of my life."
Caldwell said it sounds like Indiana Pacer rookie Tyler Hansbrough, who has been sidelined since January, has a similar condition.
"They said Hansbrough had an inner ear infection," said Caldwell. "It was reported that he was really dizzy and was unable to play or practice because of it.
"If he indeed has what I had, I know he has some tough and frustrating times ahead, but I know he will get better."
According to the pacers.com, Hansbrough, who played on North Carolina's 2009 NCAA championship team before being selected No. 13 by the Pacers, also could have suffered a concussion.
Hansbrough, who averaged 8.5 points and 4.8 rebounds in 29 games this season, was sent to a specialist in New York, but an exact diagnosis or estimated time for his return have never been announced.
"I know I'll get past this. I'll recover from it and I'm looking forward to getting back out there playing again," Hansbrough said.
According to aolhealth.com, inflammation and infection of the ear canal, or swimmer's ear, can cause a a rare but serious infection that can eventually become fatal. The bacteria can invade the bones inside the ear canal and spread to the base of the skull.
Caldwell, who was the girls cross country coach at EGHS from 1990 to 2007, used to run 3-5 miles per day, often with his cross country or track teams.
"Right now I am power walking about six miles a day," said Caldwell. "I am walking about 4 1/2 miles per hour, which is about one mph faster than when you are walking.
"I also have lost 60 pounds since I got up to 210 last spring. I walk at a really brisk pace and use hand weights. I hope that I can keep it going."
Caldwell, who has almost 30 girls out for track and field this spring, said he also has taken up bike riding.
"I am trying to get into and stay in shape for the long haul," he said. "It is going to be interesting to see how things turn out for the team this year."
Things have already turned out well for Caldwell, who said that running is a really special sport.
"It's a life skill. It's a metaphor for life. Work hard, seize the day and smell the roses."
B.J. Hargis is the sports editor at the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached at (812) 847-4487, ext. 12 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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