Signs dotted the roads of Byron, and fans packed the high school’s gym to welcome Mike Coble home Monday night.
At 4:30 p.m. Monday, Coble — who was diagnosed in June with Guillian-Barre Syndrome — finally was released from Mayo Clinic Health System-Saint Mary’s and allowed to return home. His illness left him in the intensive care unit for a time and kept him hospitalized for more than a month.
For the occasion, the Byron and Kasson-Mantorville boys basketball teams held a charity scrimmage to help raise funds for Coble’s recovery.
And while Coble has received plenty of cheers in his days at Byron (he holds the school’s basketball record for career points), the ovation he received Monday may have been his most rousing yet.
“It gave me chills a little bit,” Coble said. “All these people here to support, it just shows that they’re still caring and supporting like they were at the start.”
Coble has had near constant support from people both near and far since he was first diagnosed with GBS. In addition to friends, family and teammates who rarely left his side, Coble received support from people across the state in the form of donations to his GoFundMe page. That page, which has raised about $10,000 to date, was made to help Coble’s family with medical expenses. His mother, Deanna Coble, took a leave of absence from work that will extend through September in order to be by his side and, as a result, has no current income coming in.
Coble said he was shocked by the amount of financial support his family has received and it’s meant a lot to him. Deanna and her husband, Scott Wilson, added the support from those close to the family played a big role in expediting Mike’s recovery.
“That, I still think, pushed him over the edge to get better faster,” Wilson said. “You can’t really even put it into words how much help it was.”
While Coble’s coming home was his biggest step to date, he still has a way to go in order to make a full recovery. A Minnesota State, Mankato football commit, Deanna said her son won’t be playing football this year and it’s undecided whether or not he’ll attend school this year.
When Mike does enroll, though, Deanna said the Mavericks’ coaching staff has let them know he’ll be welcomed to the team whenever he’s ready.
Coble said recovery time varies for victims of GBS, but it will likely be anywhere from six to 12 months before he starts to feel normal again.
However, even though he may not feel like the old Mike yet, those around him are starting to see signs he’s getting there, which is a far cry from where he was less than a month ago.
“I’ve been so used to seeing him in the hospital and probably saw him at his worst,” Byron basketball coach Kyle Finney said. “To see him walk out, smile and be able to grab that microphone and talk like the old Mike, it was pretty special.”
Echoing Coble’s sentiment about Monday’s gathering, Finney says it wasn’t just special because of what Coble has gone through, but also because of the way the community as a whole came together to support someone who gave so much to Byron High School.
Finney said even people who had never been to a Byron basketball or football game came out to show support, many of them donning T-shirts with Coble’s nickname of “Ice” on them.
To see that support, Coble said, was a great reminder of the sense of community that Byron shares.
“This town’s a great place, and I’m glad to have grown up here,” he said.