Culver High School’s head football coach, Shea Little, has led the Bulldogs to the best record of any high school football team on the High Desert this season. But his story goes beyond the gridiron.
Little used to be a football player back in the day. He was an offensive tackle for Portland State and Eastern Oregon and signed with the Rams in 1997. Little said he struggled with respiratory issues during his career, but every doctor diagnosed him with exercise-induced asthma.
” It was tough to take a shower. It was tough to walk out to the field, ” Little recalled recently. ” I could still yell. I could still sit there and yell. ”
Then, a few years ago, a pulmonologist in Bend diagnosed Little with a genetic disorder called Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency. That means his body did not produce enough of a protein to protect his lungs and liver from damage.
” I just got sick, and I was taking all the antibiotics and prednisone and all that stuff, and it just wasn’t working, ” Little said.
So he was put on the lung transplant list in 2016 and stepped down from the head coaching position indefinitely.
Zach Wiseman, a senior running back on the team, said, ” Everybody was pretty worried, kind of worried about him and if he was going to come back and how it would affect the team. ”