Lindsay Wilcox, NBC 5 News
A North Texas teen who weighed nearly 400 pounds dropped 180 pounds with the help of his love for basketball.
A North Texas teenager who weighed nearly 400 pounds as a high school junior dropped 180 pounds with the help of his love for basketball.
Kevin Madison's journey first started with another sport. He went to Parkland's Oak West Health Clinic in Dallas to get clearance to try out for his high school football team after coaches expressed interest in him.
But pediatrician Dr. Jules Greif took one look at Madison and said absolutely not.
"Kevin was morbidly obese and having breathing problems and, at that time, there was no way that I was going to offer him that clearance to play football," Greif said.
The experience was a wake-up call for Madison, who had been putting on weight since middle school.
"It felt bad, it really felt bad, knowing that you have friends always ask you to join a game and they get tired of the same answer -- 'no,'" he said.
A nutritionist helped Madison learn portion control and healthy eating. But the exercise plan really changed things for him.
"We were just making, you know, small changes as far as walking -- maybe every other day for 30 minutes and then in a few months, add other activities that he liked to do," registered dietitian Sharon Cox said.
After a few months of dieting and exercise, Madison hit the basketball court. And his family noticed a difference.
"We used to go to the court every time, and they noticed a change," he said. "I was more active and more running, and I was able to handle a whole entire game without stopping or quitting, and it made me feel really good."
After a year and countless games, he had dropped 180 pounds. Madison, who was at his goal weight, visited Greif.
"I couldn't believe it," Greif said. "I was in total amazement."
Madison is still playing basketball two and a half years later. He is starting his adult life at a healthy weight and hopes his love of basketball will help him keep it off for good.
"It's incredible," he said. "You know, I actually found something that I enjoy doing without me even knowing that I'm losing weight."
NBC 5's Lindsay Wilcox contributed to this report.