Upcoming Hemophilia Sports Broadcaster
Twenty –one year old Andrew Schnitker has always loved football and hockey; and even though he has severe factor VIII hemophilia, these sports will continue to be a huge part of his life. That’s right, because even though Andrew can’t play these sports due to two target knee joints, he has high hopes of becoming a sports broadcaster after his graduation next December.
Andrew grew up in Dallas, Texas, and also has a brother who has hemophilia. His mom knew she was a carrier because her dad had hemophilia, so she knew Andrew would have hemophilia before he was born. “The thing I like least about having hemophilia is having target joints; both of my knees are bad. I had a port a cath from age 5 to 13, and started prophylaxis then since I started developing target joints before I was five because I had an inhibitor,” he recalls. Andrew’s parents kept up his prophylaxis and he eventually beat his inhibitor.
When he was a boy, Andrew loved to watch the Dallas Cowboys football games and remembers watching the Dallas Stars hockey team win the Stanley Cup with his dad. He really wanted to play, but was never allowed to. “Mom and Grandma wanted to keep me safe,” he says.
Since Andrew has always loved sports, and has been acting since he was five years old, he has found a way to combine the two into a career. He has been studying communications at the University of Texas in Austin, and hopes to someday have a job in the sports field. You see, there is more than one way to have a career in sports; Andrew hopes to possibly be a sports writer, editor, producer or reporter. He says, “I love sports, it’s something that brings people together, and to see the drama unfold is a thrill.”
Andrew is the president of his fraternity and says he has spent the last four years teaching all of his fraternity brothers about hemophilia. He says, “I would rather have people ask questions and learn about my bleeding disorder than try to hide it or be embarrassed by it. It is a disorder that not a lot of people know about and I want to clear up their misconceptions. I would never want to use this disorder as a crutch.”
Andrew currently does a Radio show on campus. “I’ve been the sports director on 91.7 KVRX for a year. I do the Longhorn College sports talk, it is an FM spot Tuesdays at 7:00PM,” he explains. He started out as a guest on the show, and finally was given a show of his very own. He jokes, “I just kept volunteering until they gave me my own show!” He says, “I have also done an internship with ESPN radio. I love it because you get to create a character. You can show up in athletic shorts and a T-shirt, it is such freedom- so enjoyable. It’s a stress release for me.” He says he is not sure what his eventual job will be, but for the summer he has an internship with the CBS affiliate, doing sports writing, producing editing, and maybe even some reporting. He is excited about his future and says he can’t think of anything better than to get paid for doing something you love. He even thinks he would be willing to move anywhere, just to get a job in sports. He says, “It’s funny, when I was in school, I hated English, but loved geography and history. Now I may be a sports writer!”
Andrew’s advice to other kids with hemophilia is, “Don’t put yourself in a box that says, “I am a Hemophiliac!” It does make you unique, but you just have different challenges. Embrace it, but don’t let it change who you are. And Andrew’s advice about going to college: “Choose a major that you’re interested in, or really like. College will provide some of the best experiences of your life…learn as much as possible and get involved at your school. Everyone in college wants to meet new people and learn about different cultures, so jump in and embrace it! The more learning and growing you do during your college years the more likely you will be to find the job you really want!” That sounds like good advice from a twenty-something who has it all together and will soon be reporting from the world of sports.