Tulsa football coach Philip Montgomery spends a countless amount of time and energy preparing for Saturday games, but he has just as big of a cause, if not greater, to fight for every day.
"She's been a huge part of my life, all the things she sacrificed for us as kids,” said Montgomery. “I remember Friday nights, whether it was football, basketball, anytime I had a game, the little sack lunches she brings."
Since Montgomery was a little kid, he had his mom Sandra Jean’s support. Jean still supports him, but her memories of their memories are fading away.
Just the look in her eyes, you know, she’s still happy, she’s still healthy, but there’s times where you can just see that she should know me but doesn’t. You know, that hurts, but she’s still my mama,” he explained. “There’s nothing really that you can do besides try to comfort and make everything as good as you can for them. That's what really makes it tough for us, for her, because she doesn't want it. It's been a struggle for her at times, so we're just battling through it and trying to stay as positive as we can."
His mother is fighting Alzheimer's disease. Whenever Coach Montgomery is not on the sidelines, he goes down to visit. Both he and his wife Ashli saw their grandmothers pass away due to the disease.
He admits it has been a struggle. But since he's moved to Tulsa, he battles on the field on Saturdays. But he and his family battle a more important issue off the field, finding a cure to Alzheimer's
"It at least gave us an outlet to feel like we're trying to do something to help,” he stated. “We're trying to battle it in our own special way."
Last season against UCF, Tulsa had an Alzheimer's Awareness game. This year, the Montgomery family joined the Walk to End Alzheimer's. Their team name is Sandra Jean.
He’s received plenty of support, even pledging to double whatever donation they receive. So far they're up to $30,000 in donations for research. He hopes to walk October 22.
Both his family and his football family have helped him get through it the most
"We don't know what each other are going through all the time. There’s struggles that we each fight daily that we kind of keep bottled up inside of us,” said Montgomery. “My football family here supports us in that sense but so does my interior family with my wife and kids. And for us, it’s all one big happy family… We’re all gonna be touched by this at some point if we don’t get something done with it now.”
To register for the walk or donate visit the following link: 2016 Walk to End Alzheimer's - Tulsa