Remington Chambers is well versed in what it means to deal with a health issue affecting sports life.
A little more than a year ago, Remington Chambers was in a hospital in Kansas City fighting for life.
About a month ago the 15-year old was returning to a sports interest, helping the Booneville Junior High Bearcats win Junior Bearcat Relays.
"It felt great, for that one meet," Chambers said of getting to be back in a uniform.
On March 22 of last year that seemed impossible, if not altogether trivial.
Chambers was at his father’s home in Missouri when he developed a mild headache.
"I took some Advil and said I’d sleep it off. I was laying in bed that night and it progressively got worse and worse and the next morning I woke up at 4:30-ish and my head was pounding and I felt like I had a migraine, times 10," said Chambers.
He was air flighted to a Kansas City hospital where he would be diagnosed with a bacterial meningitis.
"They basically told us it was the perfect storm of his immune system being just low enough and he had a polyp in the top part of his nose," said Traci Tanner, Chambers’ mother. "Just a regular sinus infection where your snot would run out it ran back because the polyp wasn’t allowing it to come out.
"It kind of set up in that cavity behind his left eye."
Chambers and his parents were in Kansas City for nine days which was followed by eight weeks of home antibiotics Tanner said.
Then an eighth grade Booneville Junior High student, Chambers was able to both catch up the work he missed and perform the remaining work for the year and was promoted with his class to freshman status.
A football player prior to the meningitis, Chambers could not play as a freshman, but there was track, where Chambers is a distance and mid-distance runner, and trap shooting.
In his first and only outing of a severely shortened season due to the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, Chambers ran the 1600-meters for the Bearcats in 5:47.47, placing sixth.
Chambers also ran a leg of the 4x800-meter relay which finished third in the meet with a combined time of 10:16.39.
"We’re proud to have him back," track coach Whit Overton said. "He was working hard every day improving his times in practice. He was going to be a big part of our track season."
When, or if, life returns to a somewhat normal flow and football season starts at its traditional time, Chambers would like to be with his teammates but because doctors discovered a subsequent issue, he won’t be in uniform.
He says he will "more than likely" find a way to be around the program.
"I haven’t really decided if I want to be a manager or not yet," said Chambers.
It’s simply to dangerous for him to be in a football uniform.
"We had to follow up for the last year," Tanner said. "They only thing he has that’s prolonged it is in the midst of the meningitis we found a genetic eye disease called optic disk drusion. They say 70 percent of the people who have it lose all peripheral vision through their lifetime.
"Having the meningitis sped up the process. Basically they said he’s about 10 years into the disease."
At this point Chambers already has no lower peripheral vision at all, Tanner said, and the disease is "creeping up" on his peripheral vision to both his left and right.
"He’s having to go through special driving courses," said Tanner. "He’s having to do all kinds of stuff for him to be able to drive, which they said is not going to be an issue but they want us to take these precautions."
Chambers will eventually lose all peripheral vision, Tanner said.
It would be logical that an eye disease coupled with missing a year of the sport and moving up to senior high after missing his final junior high year — trap shooting uses sixth through eighth grade for junior high and freshman through senior for senior high — might affect trap shooting, but the opposite is true.
Chambers blasted 46 of 50 targets in a recent practice but he won’t get to display that effectiveness in a regional tournament for the Bearcat trap team.
Whether school resumes or not, the shooting sports season has already been canceled.
Chambers said regardless of the string of instances in his life he is simply "still kicking."