Michael Mauti Reveals Battle With Ulcerative Colitis
While Michael Mauti’s struggle with a trio of season-ending knee injuries at Penn State was well documented, he also dealt with a debilitating disease behind closed doors.
In a comprehensive piece published on Nola.com Saturday, Mauti revealed he was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis prior to his senior year in 2012. His leadership alongside teammate Mike Zordich helped save the football program, but this news makes Mauti’s accomplishments all the more impressive.
After being named special teams captain of his hometown New Orleans Saints in 2016, Mauti was forced to cut his season short due to increased complications with the disease. However, he and his doctors are confident a third successful surgery this April, which will remove his large intestine, should allow him to continue his NFL career. Mauti’s currently an unrestricted free agent, but the Saints, who paid his full salary last season as he recovered, have indicated they would like to re-sign him.
Mauti said he routinely needed multiple IVs before kickoff to make it through games and would use the bathroom up to 25 times per day. Before his first surgery last November, he was down about 50 pounds from his playing weight to 190.
“If I kept going, I wouldn’t even be able to have a normal life, let alone have a normal career. It just became a priority to take care of myself,” Mauti told Nola.com.
He’s as determined as ever to beat this disease and return to playing at a high level. If his recovery goes according to plan, Mauti has a chance to rejoin the Saints for training camp this summer. There’s no doubt he’ll put in the work needed to get back to full strength once he’s cleared, and odds are Mauti will be even better than he was his first few years in the NFL.
Mauti’s courage in the face of such a difficult disease can serve as a positive reminder for anyone dealing with ulcerative colitis, or a similar condition like Crohn’s, to keep pursuing their dreams.