Sievers Setting Records While Adjusting to Diabetes

Dec 29, 2001

AP Sports Writer

LOS ANGELES (AP)Todd Sievers still resents Nebraska.

Sievers, Miami’s place-kicker, wanted to play for the Cornhuskers out ofhigh school but changed his mind when coaches told him he would have to walk onand compete with another kicker – Josh Brown – to earn a scholarship.

“I don’t hold grudges, but to Nebraska I do just because I can’t believethey’d tell a kid, ‘Walk on here, and don’t go to those other schools that areoffering you a full-ride scholarship,”‘ Sievers said.

Sievers snubbed Nebraska’s offer and chose Miami, a move that gives himextra incentive when the teams play Thursday night in the Rose Bowl.

It’s not that Sievers needs to prove himself, though. He’s done plenty ofthat with the Hurricanes – setting several school scoring records and helpingsave two games this season while adjusting to life with diabetes, which he wasdiagnosed with last year.

“Somebody asked me what we would have done without him,” coach Larry Cokersaid. “Well, we would have lost without him.”

Sievers, a junior from Iowa, kicked four field goals in a game three timesthis season, against Penn State, Boston College and Virginia Tech. His fieldgoals were the difference in two of those games, an 18-7 win over the Eaglesand a 26-24 victory against the Hokies.

His 119 points, 56 extra points and career-high 21 field goals aresingle-season records.

“He’s so valuable to this team, said defensive tackle Matt Walters. “Hedoesn’t get enough respect.”

Sievers came to Miami in 1998 and took over the kicking duties last season.But there was a time when he wasn’t sure if he would be able to keep the job.

Midway through the season, Sievers began feeling tired. He lost weight,color and muscle mass.

His mother, Pat, knew immediately what was wrong when she saw her son a fewdays before the Virginia Tech game in November. She was diagnosed with diabeteswhen she was 31 and pregnant with Todd, and she recognized the symptoms.

Todd didn’t panic. He was placed in the hospital for three days. He alteredhis diet, and for the last year, he has been adjusting to a new lifestyle.

He checks his blood sugar several times a day. He wears a pump thatregulates his insulin, though he takes it off for practice and games.

There was one scary moment before the West Virginia game this season when hewas hospitalized for several hours because he did not have enough insulin inhis body. He received IVs before and during halftime, and after the game.Nonetheless, he made a field goal and all six extra point attempts.

“I’m really watching it now and taking care of myself,” Sievers said.”You hear about diabetics all the time not taking care of themselves andhaving their feet amputated. That sticks with me. I might as well start takinggood care of myself now because I’d like to go to the pros.”

Before that can happen, Sievers has another season at Miami, and the RoseBowl against Nebraska. He hopes a solid game Thursday will help him get overhis resentment toward the Cornhuskers.

“My team appreciates me. That’s all that matters,” Sievers said.