Pro Athlete Jake Diekman Recovers From Ulcerative Colitis Surgeries
August was an exciting month for both Jake Diekman and his fiancée, Amanda. As a professional baseball player suffering from ulcerative colitis, Diekman has endured a painful, grueling rehabilitation after undergoing three operations to remove his colon.
Jake Diekman is a professional baseball player who underwent three operations in order to remove his colon because he was suffering from ulcerative colitis. He lived with this problem for 20 years, but did not stop playing baseball. He was diagnosed with the condition at age 10. He found a passion for baseball and golf early on in life, and because his symptoms subsided, he was able to continue playing them. However, in July, 2015, his athletic career was brought to a screeching halt. Diekman was traded to the Texas Rangers, but he experienced a flare-up in the 2014 offseason, and in just two weeks, he lost 20 pounds. In 2016, he was forced to take a leave of absence from sports due to his ill health. He underwent three operations in 2017 to remove his colon, and his doctors created a J-pouch using the small intestine. He received constant support from his fiancée, Amanda. The young couple underwent a true test of their unconditional love.
Diekman was very antsy to get back to sports after the procedures, despite the fact that his whole gut had been surgically reconstructed. Even though Amanda felt Diekman needed more time to recover, she still supported his desire to get back to playing. His rehab was the most unique in Major League Baseball history. He was out of the game starting in October, 2016 due to his illness and was scheduled to return to his team on August 11, 2017. However, his much anticipated return was delayed just prior to the scheduled date. Immediately, he called Amanda for support, and she was right there for him.
The pressure was still on for Jake. During his first game after 10 months of medical leave, his nerves were high; in the fifth inning, when Diekman pitched against Arkansas, his first pitch was off, and the second was below the zone. Amanda was not able to provide support at this game other than by simply being present. Still, she could sense her fiancé’s disappointment from her seat. However, with a fastball of 92 mph, he got his first out, and a swing and a miss at 93 mph got him his second out. By the end of the game, he had pulled three outs. In the stands, Amanda found herself laughing and crying, full of emotions.
Diekman joined forces with Soltero to start a new charity for people with IBD. The duo teamed with the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation to found the Gut It Out Foundation. In order to get through his flare-ups, Diekman began using “Gut It Out” as his mantra. This helped him build his endurance and inner strength. In March, 2015, he got the phrase tattooed on his wrist.
Diekman and Soltero created the foundation in order to assist the inflammatory bowel community through greater education and research. Their aim is not only to support further research, but also to improve relationships within the IBD community itself. They want people to come out without fear and share their experiences, both good and bad. Diekman also ran a T-shirt campaign for the foundation by partnering with Athletes Brand. He emblazoned his personal mantra on the T-shirts and sold them as limited editions for only a few weeks. The money from the sales went to the foundation to support research to find more effective cures for inflammatory bowel disease.