In the summer of 2017, Trey Oudt was doing something that had become familiar to him after years and years of repetition.
He was going to football practice.
Oudt had been playing football for 13 years, nearly his entire life. He was slated to be Kell’s starting right tackle as a sophomore and was excited to get back on the field for summer workouts and impress Brett Sloan, then the Longhorns' first-year head coach.
Then, for no apparent reason, Oudt started to lose weight.
The Kell coaching staff took the players' weights every day as they came in for practice. It served as the players' attendance record for that day. Sloan, offensive line coach Steve Gates and the rest of the staff quickly noticed something was wrong.
At first, Oudt was told he simply was not eating enough. When the logical first step did not change the increasingly alarming results, the coaches called Oudt's parents.
“He looked sick,” Sloan said. “He weighed in one day and, in a period of about 15 to 20 days, he had lost about 26 pounds. We didn’t know what was going on. We picked up the phone and called his dad. It doesn’t always jump out to you how much somebody has actually lost until you put them on the scale.”
Oudt ultimately dropped from about 215 pounds, all the way down to 183.
“I’m glad we weigh our kids in in the summer,” Sloan said. “We might have sent him home and said he’s trying to lose weight or this, that and the other, and we really wouldn’t have dug into it the way we dug into it. We felt like it might have saved his life.”
When the coaches called Oudt's father, Chip, he already had scheduled a doctor's appointment for later that week to avoid conflicting with practice. Coaches told the Oudts not to worry about missing practice, and to instead get Trey in to see somebody as soon as he could.
“My dad was like, ‘Alright, we have an appointment scheduled for Friday, because Trey said he wasn’t feeling well,’” Trey Oudt said. “‘We’ll take him on Friday so he doesn’t miss practice.’ Coach Gates said, ‘No, you probably need to take him ASAP.’”
That night, the night of his father's birthday, Oudt checked his blood sugar on his grandmother's meter and found it to be over 400 -- well beyond the normal number around 100. It was at the doctor the next morning that Oudt and his parents learned that he had Type 1 diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes is not related in any way to an individual’s physical fitness or diet. The exact cause is unknown, but those who have it must take insulin to survive.
“I just looked at my mom and we both start crying,” Oudt said. “It was intense. She said, ‘Baby, it’s going to be alright. Lots of people have it.’”
Oudt got the same message, first from his doctor and then from the doctors with Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. They taught him what he would need to do to manage his condition and assured him that, once his blood sugar was back to a normal level and he was prepared to manage it, he would be back out at right tackle for the Kell football team
“The first thing that came to mind was my family. The second thing was football,” Oudt said. “I was worried about being able to play sports. The doctor told me right away, ‘As soon as you get your blood sugar down, you can go out there and play today if you want to.’ That helped a lot. It made me a lot more excited and it picked me up a little bit when I was in the hospital. It was heartbreaking when I learned that I was diabetic, but when they assured me that I could play, it released a little bit of pressure off my chest.”
Now, two years later, Oudt is near 250 pounds as a senior. He is helping anchor Kell's offensive line on Friday nights, though it just takes a little extra work.
“We had to learn how to deal with him at practice,” Sloan said. “He has a snack bag that he has out there. He’ll just tell me, ‘Coach, I think my sugar is low,’ and he’ll be gone for a few reps, and he knows that’s fine. He works real closely with our training staff just to make sure that he keeps all that stuff in check.”
“All the coaches are extremely understanding,” Oudt said. “I’ll run over there, check my blood sugar, and, if everything is good, I come back the next play. If I’m low, I’ll eat a snack, I’ll wait 10 minutes and I’ll run back out there.”
Oudt was a big part of Kell’s 9-3 team last season, and he is one of the leaders on a team that has started the 2019 season 3-1, all the while learning how to manage Oudt's diagnosis.
Football offered Oudt something for him to turn to while he adjusted.
“Every time I put my pads on, it's kind of the same old, same old,” he said. “There’s nothing like hitting someone.”
Now, Oudt does not view his diabetes as a bad situation. It is just something that causes him to do a little more work around meal times or at football practice than some of his teammates and friends. It has not drastically altered the way he lives his life, and he definitely will not let it alter his time on a football field.
“It’s just something extra you have to do every now and then,” Oudt said. “I wouldn’t say it’s that bad. People deal with worse. I’m lucky that I don’t have something worse. Diabetes, I’m kicking its butt. It’s whatever.”