Jamie McGee: Life with Tourette's

Jamie McGee: Life with Tourette's

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - You may remember him as sportsperson of the week, or an All-American football player.

"It's like an itch that you want to scratch," said Jamie McGee. "It's like an urge, you just...if you don't do it you just get so tense."

What many people don't know is Jamie McGee suffers from Tourette's.

"He was diagnosed at seven years old," said Jamie's father, James. "He has not let it affect him. He is the poster child for turning a disability into an ability."

"As a child, it was hard growing up," Jamie said, "Because different people didn't really understand the concept of Tourette's or what it was. As an adult, it's a little different story. It's hard for me to focus in school and stay in the classroom because it's such a distraction."

Growing up, Jamie's best friend, Mason, stuck by him through every episode. Mason says Jamie's Tourette's helped them both grow into the young men they are today.

"It's like a double edge sword. He could've let it destroy him, you know? He could've crawled up and shut himself away," Mason said, "Or it could've helped him grow and I think it's because he's got such a strong personality people gravitate toward him."

With two semester's left, Jamie has put school on hold.

"It's an uphill battle he has to climb," Mason said, "Compared to a person who has all the inhibitions from their motor functions."

Jamie was recently fitted for a mouthpiece that hits a nerve in his mouth when he bites down, that could control his urges and his ticks to help him get back on track.

"He wants to be known as a tremendous athlete and not the kid with Tourette's," says James.

The McGee family believes that with the help of the mouthpiece and things such as essential oils, Jamie's Tourette's can be controlled.

Once the Tourette's is under control, Jamie plans to return to school and eventually try out for the Canadian National Football League.

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