View Full Version : TFC's Omphroy Battles MS

06-04-2011, 03:27 PM
Found this article the other day, not sure that it has been posted here. For those with the disease or know those that are this is an inspirational story:

As far as professional athletes go, Toronto FC rookie Demitrius Omphroy is about as disciplined as they come. He doesn’t drink alcohol or even caffeine. He carefully watches what he eats and makes sure to always get his eight hours of sleep.

He has to.

Omphroy, 22, has multiple sclerosis -- an auto-immune disease that affects the brain and central nervous system.

Sure, it’s extremely rare for a professional athlete to excel amid what is often a debilitating illness but Omphroy rebuffs that thinking – instead, using it as a motivator to work harder on the field while helping raise awareness for fellow patients and soccer fans worldwide.

“I want to play at the highest level possible for as long as I possibly can,” Omphroy told CityNews.ca in an exclusive interview.

“I’ve yet to debut for Toronto FC, so right now I gotta keep working hard and try to get into the first team...My dream right now is to step on the field and play in front of 20,000 fans.”

The defender and winger first started experiencing symptoms at just 17 years old while playing soccer with the Sporting Club de Portugal Juniores in Lisbon.

“I got this weird blurriness in my eyes. I was rubbing my eyes, but thought I was just really tired. I went to have breakfast and it just didn’t go away, almost like something was stuck in my eye; I just kept rubbing it.

“In practice I noticed my depth perception was off, I kept losing the ball. I was trying to make a pass and I was a little off balance. It was really, really strange,” Omphroy said.

After undergoing testing with no answers from Portuguese doctors, Omphroy was temporarily forced to give up on his dream and return to his San Francisco-area home.

“My parents were just to the point where they were like ‘You need to come back. They’re telling us this stuff from so far away.’ [The doctors] were basically saying you could potentially go blind if this is hereditary,” he said, adding that while his parents wanted him to play professional soccer, they told him his health comes first.

“That was my first big indication that this was going to be a lot more serious than I thought. It was scary.”

There is no one test that can definitively diagnose someone as having MS -- Omphroy didn’t receive the official diagnosis until last year.

“When I actually found out I did have it, and that was the reason I couldn’t play professionally when I was 17, I kinda looked at it like, this will be the last time this thing stops me because not being able to play professionally when the dream was so close, right there. I look back on that and that was so crazy that I lost that and I thought it was going to be over.”

In January, meanwhile, Omphroy got a second chance when Toronto FC made him their first pick, 26th overall in the MLS entry draft.

Along with practices and training with the team, taking care of his health is a top priority. That means avoiding alcohol, caffeine and dairy. If he doesn’t get enough sleep, he suffers from what he calls barber chair syndrome -- an electrical sensation in the legs.

Part of Omphroy’s regiment includes daily injections, something that serves as a constant reminder of his condition.

“The thing that makes me the most angry is the fact that I have to do my treatment. I hate my treatment, I hate the injections…I’ve had bleeding in my injection spots, sore spots. It almost feels like I’m bruised, inflamed. It’s tough to have something that’s always reminding you ‘Hey, you have MS,’” Omphroy said.

But despite his frustrations, he has become a vocal and visible example of a person not only living with multiple sclerosis, but thriving.

What’s more, Omphroy is now an official spokesperson with the MS Society of Canada.

“The MS Society of Canada is thrilled to have a partner and spokesperson in Demitrius. He is a young, gifted athlete who has not let his MS diagnosis slow him down,” said the MS Society of Canada’s Michelle Capobianco.

“While mapping out his career, Demitrius is also mapping out plans for how he can draw attention and awareness to the MS cause.”

And while his condition is a big part of his life, it’s not his whole life. Right now, his energy is focused on cracking Toronto FC’s starting line-up.

“I don’t want to let it stop me.”

2011/06/03 | Ashleigh Smollet, CityNews.ca


06-04-2011, 03:53 PM
yes he has had numerous articles about him ,...really affable person, but more in particular, as I saw in last reserve game, attacking RB fullback and I could be wrong, but he should be on the bench, out of everyone I saw he gave me the most confidence when controling the ball......we need his heart right now.....

06-04-2011, 04:16 PM
That sucks to be hit by Multiple Sclerosis at such a young age. My mother has MS. And so far, she's been able to lead a normal life. I'm behind Omphroy 100 percent.

06-04-2011, 04:16 PM
I hope Winter gives this kid a shot at some point this season.