In 2006, I broke my leg 2 days before the NCAA tournament. I was a Junior in College at Penn State. I got surgery two days later, so I would like crutch to go into a different room only like 10 feet away and I was breathing so hard. Something was wrong. I get to the hospital and they put me through all of the tests and said “Okay we need you to come back immediately.” I get back to the hospital bed. I was laying there totally in shock. I had no idea if I would live. With all of the tests, we need to put you on blood thinners. You are having a pulmonary embolism and you have multiple blood clots in your legs and your lungs. You’re experiencing many heart attacks. They said if you would’ve fallen asleep that night you most likely wouldn’t have woken up. Hearing that put a lot into perspective for me. I was 21 years old and I wasn’t sure at the time If I would live and follow through with my dreams of playing at this level or continuing playing soccer at all. Lying in that bed for the week and seeing my parents there, my friends coming in from school, my best friends, my team at Penn State. That in itself was an uplifting experience because I knew how many people cared about me.
My brother at the time was in a bit of a different place. He was struggling with addiction. During that period, he actually didn’t realize that was happening. It was actually right after that he made the decision to become sober. He’s like my mentor, he’s a huge inspiration to me. He builds me up and makes sure I realize how great of an experience this is and how great these moments are. He keeps me grounded in that and makes me realize that not everyone gets this opportunity, so I need to take it. I need to make sure I give it my all.