Rattler guard fights through thyroid disease

From the brink of possible death to becoming a starting point guard, Earnest Maul’s journey to playing division one basketball was almost just a dream.

Why? Well, while in high school, he developed hypothyroid. This occurs when the thyroid gland fails to produce or secrete the thyroxin and triodothryronine the body needs to regulate heart rate, digestion, physical growth and mental development.

When his thyroid gland failed to produce, it caused him to lose an excessive amount of weight. He went from a healthy 175 pounds to a devastating 145 pounds in less than a month.”That first day, it was tough because I couldn’t be around nobody,” Maul said. “I had to stay in my room.”

Because of his many doctor appointments and treatments, Maul missed large amounts of time in the classroom, resulting in the decline of his grades, The aftereffect of these occurrences led to Maul being placed on academic probation.

Now facing an academic life in turmoil and a playing career in question, Maul developed a plan.

“Basically, I just went to class,” Maul said. “I kept practicing on my own and hopefully hoping someone heard about me.”Fortunately, someone did hear about Maul. Black Hawk

Community College head coach Troy Noble heard about Maul through a friend and offered him a basketball scholarship.”It really put a smile on my face,” Maul said. “A lot of people stopped recruiting me after my sophomore year.”

While at Black Hawk, Earnest averaged 20 points, five assists and two steals a game and was once being recruited to play division one basketball, but upon receiving his associates degree, Maul faced another obstacle. He was missing a summer course.

“A lot of schools stopped recruiting me because I needed one more summer school class that was unknown until I received an associate’s degree, and “G” (coach Mike Gillespie Sr.) let me know that they were confident that I would pick up that one summer class over the summer, and then I can come in here and make a smooth transition.”

Coach Gillespie spoke highly of Maul.

“Ernie Maul is as fine a young man as you’re ever going to want to meet,” Gillespie said. “He started out as a six man and eventually worked his way into the starting line up…he played very well for us, a very unselfish player. He wants to get everyone involved before him.”

Currently, Maul has been off medication for a year now.”It balanced me back out,” Maul said. “My body feels stronger, and I’ve been working as hard as I can to maintain where I am for the moment.”

Maul feels his recovery is a blessing and believes his purpose in life has yet to be fulfilled. He doesn’t mind being an inspiration to others.

“I would tell people to not give up,” Maul said. “It’s something you really can’t control, and if you find it early, you’ll recognize that you need help and come back from it.”

The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists estimates that 10 percent of Americans – more than the number of Americans with diabetes and cancer combined – suffer from some form of thyroid disease.