LEO, Ind. (WANE) – Lindsey Marriott isn’t just a walking miracle, she’s a running one. A sophomore distance runner at Leo High School, Lindsey qualified for tomorrow’s regional meet in Marion by finishing third at sectionals last Tuesday with a time of 11:58.92 in the 3,200 meters.
It is an impressive feat in itself, but even more so when you take into account her life-threatening experience on New Year’s Eve.
“I was perfectly fine until the second it happened,” Lindsey told WANE-TV. “I then got a migraine headache. It was worse than any other headache I’d gotten before. And then after the headache I lost my ability to stand, and then I just lost memory.”
On December 31 – a day after her 16th birthday – Lindsey was celebrating with her family as Disney World’s Epcot Center when she suffered a brain aneurysm. The aneurysm was the result of a malformation – basically a birthmark on her brain. After surgery Lindsey spent 16 days in a coma.
“Probably not until I was three days out of the coma did I really get a full grip on what had happened because my memory, it had be struggling up until then,” said Lindsey. “Then when it hit, it hit really hard.”
“My first thought was, ‘Is she going to make it?'” said Leo distance coach Matt Parker. “My last thought was, ‘When is she going to be back running?'”
Lindsey’s first thought, however, was getting back on the track. She was released from the hospital January 21st and it wasn’t long after that the Marriott’s had a plan in place.
“Middle of February her dad texted me and said, ‘Lindsey’s going to run this year.’ I was like, ‘There’s no way she’s going to be running this year,'” said Parker. “So he said, go ahead and start thinking about how are we going to do this.”
“When the doctors started saying yeah, yeah, you can get back to it I was like, OK, I want to be back for the outdoor track season,” said Lindsey. “And I want to be running competitively.”
Lindsey’s first workout was a single lap. By the end of the first week she was running a full mile.
“I had to keep my hopes up,” Linsdey said. “I couldn’t think that I wasn’t going to be able to run the outdoor season, because if I thought that then I probably wouldn’t make it.”
While Lindsey – who won a sectional title in cross country in October of 2013 as a freshman at Leo – says she isn’t back to 100-percent just yet, she notes running was a huge help in her recovery.
“I really got good care, and a lot of them said the reason why I healed so quickly and so well is that I’m a high athletic person, that it just made my body healthier therefore it was able to overcome it a lot better,” said Lindsey.
“What is it attributed to?” said coach Parker when asked about Lindsey’s amazing recover. “She’s a very hard-working girl. She wants to do well. And, I think, God has just decided, you know what, I’m not finished with you. I’m going to have you run some track and I’m going to let you shine out there. And that’s exactly what she does.”
Lindsey will run the 3,200 meters in tomorrow’s regional meet at Marion on the campus of Indiana Wesleyan.