St. Michael-Albertville girls’ basketball coach Kent Hamre and the 2014-2015 Knights will take time to honor one of their own Tuesday night, as the girls welcome a very special team member to the floor for the varsity game versus Big Lake High School.
Senior Maddie Briggs will suit up as a member of the varsity squad, something the STMA student has dreamed about. However, Maddie is living with Turner Syndrome, a rare condition that affects the muscles of the heart, and is set to undergo heart surgery on Jan. 21.
To honor her dedication to the basketball program and her love of the sport, Hamre and the squad presented Briggs last week with a varsity uniform and informed her that she’d be given a spot to play Tuesday against the Hornets. Doctors have signed off on the activity – even encouraging it – Hamre said, and Briggs will be in the lineup for Tuesday’s contest.
Hamre is inviting all fans – students and parents – to put on sweatbands/headbands and wear neon colors, two of Maddie’s favorite things, to show their support for the STMA teen during the game.
Here’s the blurb that will be included in Tuesday night’s game program:
Maddie was born on December 2, 1997. At age 5, she was diagnosed with Turner Syndrome, a nonhereditary genetic disorder that occurs only in females. One of the health issues Turner Syndrome has caused for Maddie is an enlarged aorta. Her doctors and parents have been monitoring this condition since Maddie was diagnosed. Her aorta has continued to enlarge as she has grown over the years and is now at a size where the risk has become significant enough to require surgery. Therefore on Jan 21, 2015 Maddie will be having open heart surgery to replace part of her aorta. Maddie’s doctor is aware of her activities and does not have a problem with her playing basketball; in fact he supports physical activity for her.
Basketball is Maddie’s life! Her positive attitude and tireless energy is contagious. Maddie always has a smile on her face. She is genuinely engaged in every play, practice, game, and team outing. Her high fives, fist pumps, hard claps, and pep talks are inspiring. Maddie is a true teammate who pours her heart into the team’s success. There have been countless occasions in the off-season and even after practice when Maddie can be found in the activity center with her signature headband, Beats headphones, and neon gear shooting baskets! She is truly the team’s #1 fan and teammate, who believes each game can end in a win for the Knights. Likewise, her teammates and coaches admire her and her unwavering dedication to STMA girls’ basketball which is why we hope to pack the stands on Tuesday to “brighten” Maddie’s Knight!
Below is a video of KSTP Channel 5’s newscast, featuring Maddie, last week. The clip on STMA basketball starts at about the 22:22 mark.