High school soccer coach living with Alzheimer's pushes back at - Cincinnati News, Weather, Sports from FOX19 NOW-WXIX

High school soccer coach living with Alzheimer's pushes back at stereotypes

MATTHEWS, NC (WBTV) -

Alzheimer's, there are two misconceptions many people believe about this disease. 

One: It's an elderly person's illness.

Two: When you get it, your life is over.  

But the head men's soccer coach at Butler High School is pushing back at stereotypes and showing what resilience means. 

For Jim Mueller, the soccer field is a place to impact lives and build champions but also a place of healing.

Mueller was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's at the age of 37.

"The thing about Alzheimer's is it runs you down, mentally and physically," he says. "If you don't get out of bed and don't do something to challenge yourself, you are going to slip away."

Mueller, now 44, had to retire from his job as a sheet metal foreman soon after the diagnosis.

"I was in the middle of my career, just getting going, making money, and then I had to stop because I got sick," he says.

According to the Alzheimer's Association, as the population increases, the number of early onset patients continues to grow. 

Coaching is Jim's passion so he decided the best treatment would be to keep that whistle, even if it means he has to work twice as hard as the healthy guy.

"I have to study stuff that I already know, I have to write everything down, every play I am going to do or every minute basically," Mueller says.

His players are inspired by his story.

Sophomore Drew Milavec says he'll always look up to Mueller.

"If you just went up and talked to him, you would never know his condition," Milavec says. "He gets us to believe in ourselves. His work ethic, just makes us all work harder as well."

Back at home, Mueller says he is inspired by his three children and wife Michelle.

Michelle Mueller says you just have to have inner strength.

"There are times when Jim doesn't remember who I am, or who the kids are," she says.

So that's why Mueller continues to coach, to stand up to Alzheimer's.

"It's cruel, it's mean, it's unjust, but you don't have to quit or surrender," Mueller says.

Butler's soccer team made it to the first round of the state playoffs in 2012, Coach Mueller's first season.

Before he took over the team was second to last in conference play in 2011.

To learn more about the symptoms of Alzheimer's, follow this link to the Charlotte Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association.

Copyright 2013 WBTV. All rights reserved.

  • FOX19 HeadlinesMore>>

  • Teen suspect in Maryland officer's slaying held without bail

    Teen suspect in Maryland officer's slaying held without bail

    Monday, May 21 2018 11:43 PM EDT2018-05-22 03:43:29 GMT
    Tuesday, May 22 2018 9:36 PM EDT2018-05-23 01:36:34 GMT
    A 16-year-old boy has been charged with first-degree murder in the slaying of a Baltimore County, Maryland, police officer. (Source: Baltimore County Police/CNN)A 16-year-old boy has been charged with first-degree murder in the slaying of a Baltimore County, Maryland, police officer. (Source: Baltimore County Police/CNN)

    The officer, who wasn't immediately identified, was run over by a Jeep and fatally injured, authorities say.

    Full Story >

    The officer, who wasn't immediately identified, was run over by a Jeep and fatally injured, authorities say.

    Full Story >
  • Gay Kentucky man loses bid to challenge GOP clerk Kim Davis

    Gay Kentucky man loses bid to challenge GOP clerk Kim Davis

    Tuesday, May 22 2018 8:07 PM EDT2018-05-23 00:07:36 GMT
    Tuesday, May 22 2018 9:36 PM EDT2018-05-23 01:36:08 GMT
    (AP Photo/Adam Beam, File). FILE - In this Dec. 6, 2017, file photo, David Ermold, right, files to run for Rowan County Clerk in Kentucky as Clerk Kim Davis look on in Morehead, Ky. Ermold, a gay man in Kentucky, wants to run against the county clerk w...(AP Photo/Adam Beam, File). FILE - In this Dec. 6, 2017, file photo, David Ermold, right, files to run for Rowan County Clerk in Kentucky as Clerk Kim Davis look on in Morehead, Ky. Ermold, a gay man in Kentucky, wants to run against the county clerk w...

    A gay Kentucky man has lost his bid to challenge GOP clerk Kim Davis, who went to jail three years ago for denying him and others marriage licenses despite a historic U.S. Supreme Court decision.

    Full Story >

    A gay Kentucky man has lost his bid to challenge GOP clerk Kim Davis, who went to jail three years ago for denying him and others marriage licenses despite a historic U.S. Supreme Court decision.

    Full Story >
  • The princes, the president and the fortune seekers

    The princes, the president and the fortune seekers

    Tuesday, May 22 2018 12:13 AM EDT2018-05-22 04:13:57 GMT
    Tuesday, May 22 2018 9:34 PM EDT2018-05-23 01:34:01 GMT
    (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File). FILE - In this May 20, 2017, file photo, President Donald Trump shakes hands with Saudi Deputy Crown Prince and Defense Minister Mohammed bin Salman in Riyadh. In emails obtained by The Associated Press, George Nader claims...(AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File). FILE - In this May 20, 2017, file photo, President Donald Trump shakes hands with Saudi Deputy Crown Prince and Defense Minister Mohammed bin Salman in Riyadh. In emails obtained by The Associated Press, George Nader claims...

    A top Trump fundraiser and a senior adviser to a UAE crown prince ran a secretive campaign, trading lobbying against Qatar for defense contracts from Gulf countries.

    Full Story >

    A top Trump fundraiser and a senior adviser to a UAE crown prince ran a secretive campaign, trading lobbying against Qatar for defense contracts from Gulf countries.

    Full Story >
Powered by Frankly