Bill Battle’s family fight against arthritis

Local News

(WIAT) — The kickoff to football season is right around the corner. College football fans across the country are gearing up to pack the stadiums to cheer on their favorite teams. While the teams prepare to fight for a win, one local family is in a battle against arthritis.

The Crimson Tide takes the field. Bill Battle has witnessed this scene before, but from different angles. Now he’s the Alabama Athletic Director, but he was also a player for Bear Bryant, with longtime friend Joe Namath as a teammate.

Those life views intersected when his daughter Kayla was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in 2008.

Most of us would think instantly that arthritis is an old person’s disease, but Battle knew great athletes who had suffered injuries, like his friend Joe Namath, also battled the pain. Now his 24-year-old daughter faces the same challenge.

“When Kayla was diagnosed, [she lived a] relatively normal life,” Bill Battle said.

“It took us by surprise,” Mary Battle said.

Rheumatoid Arthritis impacts many kids, and thousands of teenagers. Because of diet, exercise and world class treatment at UAB, Kayla is living again.

That’s one reason why the Battle family dedicated their life and money to helping others. Besides donations, Kayla is Development Coordinator for the Arthritis Foundation. Her mom Mary Battle is now on the National Board of Directors for the Arthritis Foundation.

Bill Battle used to draw up winning game plans as a player and coach. He knows to win this battle against arthritis, you start with donations.

“It is a fight that we can win, there’s progress being made every day,” he said.

Some of the exciting research happening right now deals with ACL tears for athletes and those of you who suffer from knee injuries. On the front end, if the research is done, it will prevent knee replacements later in life.

You can help win the fight against arthritis. Text CHAMPION to 27722 to donate $10 to the Arthritis Foundation. You can also sign up for the Jingle Bell Run HERE.

Copyright 2015 WIAT 42 News

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