Young Comatose Patient Loved to Shoot Hoops

Her eyes looked dazed, her expression blank. And yet, her hands worked in perfect coordination, shooting a basketball through the hoop with practiced precision. This is the story of 18-year-old Maggie Meier who was able to shoot hoops while comatose, at age 14.

In 2008, Maggie started to complain of headaches and suffered nonstop seizures. At the time, she was a freshman and star athelete at Blue Valley High School in Overland Park, Kansas. When she was taken in to the hospital, she was diagnosed with a rare brain infection called mycoplasma meningoencephalitis that causes swelling in the brain. Maggie soon slipped into a coma, and remained in a vegetative state for nearly three months. During that time, her family made sure she was moved every two hours so her limbs didn’t stiffen up. And so that she wouldn’t forget her identity, a basketball was put in her hands as she sat upright on a wheelchair. It was then that her dormant memory kicked in and she could shoot hoops for a while, before slipping back into a coma.

While this sounds incredible and even a little scary, doctors say that such an occurrence isn’t entirely unnatural. Since Maggie had been playing basketball regularly, and shot about 500 times every single day since the third grade, the movements were probably hardwired into a certain part of her brain – the part that had thankfully not been damaged by the infection. So while the rest of her memory was completely wiped out, her ability to shoot with perfect form remained untouched.

Eventually, Maggie recovered from the disease and had to spend time relearning several things such as reading, writing and even walking. But the girl’s fighter spirit ensured that she did it in no time, and she is all set to graduate High School with the rest of her class. Maggie now plans to get a college degree in special education. Who better to teach children with special needs, than one who had overcome them herself?

via ABC News


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