West Grand’s Allie Daly defies the odds by returning to the volleyball court


Doctors told her there was little chance she would be able to play sports again.

Guess where West Grand junior volleyball and basketball player Allie Daly is today? Before we get to that answer, let’s first go back to April 13, 2021.

West Grand Women’s Volleyball v Middle Park. A huge rivalry game. Daly and her Mustang teammates are fired up and ready to go. Daly, however, faced a lingering health issue that she started noticing during basketball season in January.

She is often tired, dizzy and feels like she might pass out. At first, Daly attributes this to his general conditioning after a long winter usually spent in some sort of quarantine. Then the volleyball season begins and Daly is in better shape. But her symptoms persist to the point that she can’t even speak during games and she’s so tired she needs to be replaced.

The symptoms remained firmly in place ahead of the Middle Park game. After the first set, Daly feels good. In the second set, she feels a little more tired. Next comes set three. Daly feels really sick, has severe chest pains and a headache, and has trouble keeping his balance.

After a long rally in the third set, during which Daly dove hard to the ground for a ball, she returned to serve.

“I remember going back to serving, and I don’t remember much after that,” Daly said. “I fainted a bit.”

What Daly remembers after that mostly comes from watching the game tape after the fact. She was unresponsive to her teammates around her. She tried to talk to the coaches, but nothing came out. As she returned to serve, the senior referee and her teammates noticed something was wrong. She was helped to the ground by teammates Alex Schake and Morgan Nelson.

“They thought it might have something to do with my blood sugar,” Daly recalled. “So Morgan tilted my head back and poured orange juice down my throat! I almost drowned in OJ,” she said with a laugh.

From there, her mother, Angie, and sister, Emma, ​​helped her off the field, where she continued to be assessed by athletic trainers and paramedics. They noticed her heart rate was well above average, even for being out of a game, so she was taken to the ER in Middle Park.

At first, hospital staff think it’s probably just a hydration issue, and she’s hooked up to an IV. In what could be considered a saving moment, however, the doctor on call that evening took an electrocardiogram (ECG) and noticed something was wrong. So Daly’s tense night continued.

She was sent to Aurora Children’s Hospital, which, coming to the mountains, is a bit of a hike. According to Daly, they did it in a “record time” of one hour and 20 minutes. Once settled there, the doctors kept pushing and pushing Daly, taking more EKGs, doing blood tests and getting an echocardiogram. By the time they finished it was 3am

The next day, the results came in.

“They were very nice that day, bringing the therapy dog ​​and all that,” Daly said.

The doctor told her she had a condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, abbreviated as HCM. This is a rare condition in which the heart muscle becomes abnormally thick, making it harder for the heart to pump blood to the rest of the body.

HCM is only found in about 1 in 200,000 children, and most often not before that child tragically dies from overuse. So Daly didn’t lose how incredibly lucky she was.

Even with that in mind, when Daly was presented with her options to help treat her condition, she chose the one that gave her the best shot at returning to sport. An implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD), which is a surgically implanted device that will get the heart back into rhythm.

Despite choosing this option, doctors told her she was unlikely to set foot on hardwood again.

“After hearing that, I was very upset because I’ve been playing basketball since first grade and volleyball since fifth,” Daly said. “Sport has been my life, so I said to the doctor, ‘Well, that’s not going to work for me.'”

Doctors said she had about two and a half months before her next checkup to see if everything was progressing and healing properly. After a week-long stay in the hospital post-surgery, Daly began to return to his normal schedule. She did her homework, watched her volleyball team as she continued to push for the playoffs, and even went to prom.

But then she caught an infection. With his condition as he was, it could very well have led to heart complications, even a heart transplant. So, it was back to familiar territory: a hospital bed.

Daly was put on antibiotics and monitored for three more days before being cleared. When she was cleared to be released again, Daly returned to one of her happy places, supporting her teammates as they started the regional tournament.

“I wanted to show the team that I would cheer them on and support them through anything,” Daly said.

When it came time for that first exam in June, she was hit with bad news. The doctor was still not comfortable allowing him to do activities. However, he was told to try again in July and in the meantime drink double the amount of water as this would make his heart beat faster.

Daly began “drinking more water than I ever imagined” and, with the support and encouragement of her coaches, teammates, community and family, continued to heal.

Then came that July exam.

“I went back for that July exam and was a little worried,” Daly explained. “But I looked at her and I said ‘I want to play. I’ll do everything I can just to play’ and this time she said okay. She told me I had to keep playing. hydrate, eat well and be honest with my coaches.

“Being honest about being hurt was kind of new to me, because I always just want to get over the pain,” Daly continued. “But I said ‘Okay. If you let me play, I will.

This leads to August 20, 2021, West Grand’s volleyball season opener against Summit. 130 days after that fateful day in April.

“I was really nervous, but also really excited,” Daly said. “Then five minutes before game time I almost said crying because I was so nervous. One good thing my teammates did was gather around me, hold my hand and hug me. say I was going to do fine. Then I looked up and saw my parents in the stands and in that moment I knew I could do it.

“And as soon as we scored that first point, I knew it. I knew I was back.”



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