Schippers fights the odds for TMP

By KLINT SPILLER

kspiller@dailynews.net

Thomas More Prep-Marian High School senior Pierce Schippers is an all-around athlete.

He has played as an offensive lineman, tight end and defensive lineman for the Monarch football team, and he was a forward on the TMP basketball team.

This spring, he is one of TMP's top two pitchers and is the first baseman for a squad who has finished second at state in Class 3A the past two years and is one of the front runners to possibly win the state title this year.

He's done all of that despite facing a lifelong battle with diabetes.

"He takes care of himself," said Monarch assistant coach Dustin Schumacher. "He's good about doing that and watching his count throughout the day, especially with pitching. That's something where he exerts a lot of effort on the mound."

Schippers developed type I diabetes when he was just six years old.

His parents noticed some early symptoms and asked their nurse practitioner about it. The nurse practitioner saw the warning signs, got him tested and sent him through a training program to teach him how to deal with his diabetes.

His mom, Bobbie Schippers, said he has regulated his testing and shots ever since he was a child.

"He's pretty much done everything from Day 1," Bobbie Schippers said.

For Pierce, his diabetes is no big deal. He brushed off its significance and said it doesn't affect his play.

"I haven't really had any (problems) yet diabetes-wise," he said.

He said he usually only has problems the day after a game or difficult practice.

"With football and basketball, it is a little bit more difficult to control because they are more strenuous activities," Pierce Schippers said. "I really have to be more strict controlling it. With baseball, it is easier because it is not as strenuous."

Bobbie Schippers said Pierce has turned his treatments into a simple routine.

"He's always given his own shots and done his own testing," she said. "I think that's why it is kind of second nature to him. He's always done it himself. For him, it is like brushing his teeth." Not always, he sometimes forgets his meter or forgets to test."

However, like any teenager, he's not perfect.

"Not always, he sometimes forgets his meter or forgets to test."

Type I is a rare form of diabetes that only affects 5 percent of people with diabetes according to the American Diabetes Association, and if managed correctly, people with diabetes can live long and healthy lives.

Complications can arise when mismanaged, but his mom and coaches said Pierce Schippers is responsible when it comes to his testing and treatments.

"It is a big responsibility to be put on a kid's shoulders, and he's been dealing with it since he was six," Dustin Schumacher said.

His battle with the illness hasn't shown on the field.

Pierce Schippers is 2-0 with a 2.10 earned-run average on the mound. He was batting .426 heading into this week. Most recently, Schippers was 2-for-3, scored three runs and had an RBI in the Monarchs' 11-1 win against Larned in Tuesday's second game of a doubleheader. He also is slotted to start on the mound in today's first game at TMP Field against Class 5A Great Bend.

"He is just a hard worker and does what he is asked," said Monarch head coach Brian Schumacher.