Marcel Atisso was once informed he may never play sports again.
Whatever it took, Atisso was going to make sure that didn’t happen.
It took a lot.
The Harrison High School (West Lafayette, Ind.) sophomore running back/defensive back/kick returner, travels to Riley Hospital in Indianapolis roughly every eight weeks for treatment, a two-hour process during which nurses pump medicine into his arm via an IV.
“I am glad they caught it early and it didn’t get really bad,” Atisso said.
Atisso has Crohn’s disease, which causes inflammation in the bowels. He found out in fifth grade when a series of wounds grew on his lower body.
At first, it wasn’t bad, but it grew worse and he had it checked out. Once it was diagnosed, they gave him the heartbreaking news.
“I played soccer up until sixth grade and I had to give that up,” Atisso said. “I didn’t feel right not playing sports because that is a major thing in my life. It was really devastating.
“They said, ‘If you want to play sports again, you have to stay strict about this and not do anything physical.'”
So for a year and a half, he held back. When friends went outdoors to participate in activities like backyard football, he stayed behind. When his peers were in gym class, Atisso sat out.
Atisso was always blessed with natural ability and when he finally returned to athletic competition, it was like he hadn’t missed a beat.
“Playing him, he was very talented in middle school. He was the fastest kid on his team at Klondike,” said Harrison sophomore safety Chad Gault, who played at rival Battle Ground Middle School and now is Atisso’s mate in Harrison’s secondary. “It was tough to play against him. He was very quick on his feet.”