Teen with genetic disease provides inspiration as part of football team

By Patrick Nothaft | pnothaft@mlive.com

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – At 4-foot-7 and 75 pounds, Grand Rapids South Christian junior Isaac Postma wasn’t granted the ideal body type for an offensive lineman.

That hasn’t stopped him from wearing his No. 81 jersey on the sideline each week and inspiring the group of big bodies that provide push for the Sailors’ offense every Friday night.

Shortly after birth, Postma was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy, a genetic disease affecting the part of the nervous system that controls voluntary muscle movement. Most of the nerve cells that control muscles are located in the spinal cord, and the muscles of individuals affected by SMA fail to receive signals to coordinate movement and become smaller as a result.

When Postma was diagnosed with the condition, life expectancy for early onset SMA, or Type 1, was about two years.

“He’s made many trips to the emergency room, and he’s coded several times and has been brought back,” Isaac’s father, Arden Postma said. “He’s kind of considered to be an old man for SMA Type 1s.”

Isaac spends his days lying flat in his stroller, but the physical obstacles haven’t hindered his love for sports, and he has been a fixture on the South Christian sidelines for the last six years.

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