American Footballer Shazier on life with alopeciaFootballers in the UK are frequently in the news for their struggle with hair loss. However, an American Football player has become the most recent sports star to open up about their struggle with alopecia areata. Ryan Shazier was diagnosed with alopecia areata at just five years of age and now he’s ready to tell the world about his hair loss journey and the effect it’s had on his life.

How alopecia affected Shazier’s life

After losing all of his hair at age five, Shazier admits he found it tough growing up. Kids at school would tease him and over the years he claims he heard practically every insult under the sun. He claims the only way he got through it was the strength and attitude of his parents. They’d ensure he knew that the only difference between him and the other kids at school was the fact that they had hair and he didn’t. They refused to help him cover up the problem with a hat, and instead taught him how to be happy with himself – just the way he is. So, he learnt to embrace the condition rather than be ashamed of it. Then, something miraculous happened – after 19 years of being completely bald, his hair started to grow back. The thing about Alopecia is that the hair can grow back spontaneously on its own. This usually happens within months, or a year or two at the latest, but as Shazier’s case highlights – it can happen at literally any time.

Shazier’s story highlights an important issue

Shazier’s openness about his experience with alopecia is going to help a lot of men who also deal with the condition. When you research the condition, you’ll often find most of the information presented is aimed at women. Women do appear to suffer from alopecia more frequently than men, however men are still affected by the condition and they often have very little information available to them. So, Shazier is helping to raise awareness for male sufferers worldwide. Overall, alopecia can be devastating, as much for men as it is for women. However, as Shazier proves, it doesn’t have to hold you back. You can still follow and live your dreams, all while being bald. Even when his hair started to grow back, it didn’t change the person he is; proving you don’t need hair to define who you are.

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By Ian Watson

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