Dean Clower Manages MS To Become Successful College Tennis Coach
Coaching a successful college tennis team can be stressful enough, but that pressure is only magnified if you’re managing chronic condition on top of it.
Dean Clower has been the head women’s tennis coach at the University of Wyoming since 2012, but his Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis came nearly a decade earlier. While serving as a men’s coach in Texas, he kept his illness a secret “just in fear of backlash from administrators and whoever else.” But after a year of coaching in Wyoming, he found the courage to tell his team.
“My neurologist encouraged me to open up because she said that so many people don’t know what MS is and, in my position, I could help spread the word on what it is,” he said to rocketminer.com. “I go give talks and seminars and stuff like that. I’m definitely open to spreading the word about what MS is and how you can live a productive life with it.”
He still experiences occasional flare-ups of his symptoms due to the pressures of his job, as well as some fatigue and short-term memory less. But with the support of his wife and motivated by being a father to two young children, Clower has learned how to manage his condition.
“It doesn’t affect my day-to-day activities,” he said. “Am I as healthy as everybody else? No. But I still love getting up every day and going to work. Am I more tired now? Yeah. Sometimes I go to bed at 8. I just have to be more regimented than the normal person.”
The girls on his team said Clower has served as a source of inspirations, putting their own aches and pains from training in perspective when they think about what their coach deals with. But he’s also experienced breakthroughs in his own treatment, with new medications reducing the number of times he needs treatment per year from 12 visits to three.
But most importantly, he’s able to live a full life and focus on the things that matter most to him.
“What I’ve learned is you can’t predict the future so stop trying. Nobody can predict tomorrow so it just creates crazy things in your mind. I feel so much hope right now,” said Clower. “My job is to win tennis matches and to be a dad and to be a husband. That’s my goal in life.”