I went to my first volleyball camp when I was in middle school, and that is when I fell in love with the sport. Everyone expected me to be a great basketball player but my heart just wasn’t in it. Volleyball is where I excelled. I began playing on my school team in 7th grade. In 8th grade my team was undefeated in our conference and despite a severe concussion, I refused to leave the championship game until we had won. Then I went to the ER where they kept me until I knew my name.
In high school I played volleyball and tennis all year. I had at least one serious injury every year from 5th grade through 12th grade, but nothing could keep me from playing. I had 4 surgeries on my feet, severe tendinitis in my knees, tore all the tendons and ligaments in my thumb, herniated a disc and dislocated a rib in my back. I got pretty used to playing through pain, but because of my back injury, I wasn’t medically cleared to play volleyball in college. I was devastated.
I continued to play in rec leagues and when I moved to Charleston, SC I joined a beach volleyball league and began playing 2-3 times a week. It felt so good to be playing again and the sand was much softer to dive on than the gym floors that I grew up with. I went to my chiropractor often and with his adjustments and some OTC pain medicine, I could play for hours even in the Carolina heat.
In January 2017 we had a weekend that was warm enough to play, and that was the last time I played before I was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome in February 2017.
I wasn’t sure if I would ever walk again, so I couldn’t even think about the possibility of playing volleyball again.
This past Saturday I played in my first doubles tournament since I was paralyzed.
As frustrating as it is to not be the player that I used to be, the fact that I’m even playing at all is incredible.
Tips for my fellow GBS warriors getting back into activities:
- Accept that you’re probably not going to be the same athlete that you were before GBS.
- Get plenty of rest before any event and allow yourself plenty of rest afterwards. Your body has been through A LOT and needs extra rest and recovery.
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
- Ice/ice packs are key. I have a hard time controlling my body temperature and it’s easy to get over heated so between games I have to cool myself off with ice.
- Have fun!!! Let’s be real, it’s exciting just to be able to breathe and walk again so this is just icing on the cake.