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Player overcomes collapsed lung in senior year

Staff writer

A year ago Teegan Werth didn’t know if she’d ever play sports again, much less volleyball.

She developed a collapsed lung that required two emergency surgeries.

Now living with a tube in her lung, she had to relearn how to breathe properly while it healed.

A collapsed lung can cause lifelong problems, but Werth’s health has been good enough to participate in multiple sports since then. While her lungs occasionally flare up and cause her pain, Werth sees the progress she’s made as a promising sign.

“It’s not always fun, but I know it’s a healthy sign, so I push through,” she said.

She had to stop playing after the first tournament last year, so playing the full season this year gave Werth a feeling of accomplishment.

“I don’t know if I can quite describe it,” she said. “Thinking about it now gives me butterflies in my stomach because it was such a relief to be back on the court.”

Sitting out last season helped Werth become a better teammate.

“I’m more focused on encouraging my teammates,” she said. “Any moment this could be taken away, so I’m more focused on bringing the team together and making sure we are one. This is my team and this is the last year I get to play with them.”

Missing last season also taught Werth to value her time on the court more. While understanding volleyball isn’t the most important thing in her life, she maintains her passion for the game and has an interest in playing in college.

“I love volleyball,” she said. “Just being part of a team is something I absolutely love, so I would love to continue this.”

Focusing on the current situation was the topic of a talk from coach Sandy Arnold as the team prepared for Saturday’s substate.

She tasked the Trojans with only worrying about the things they could control in the moment, an area Arnold admitted working on as well.

Hearing Arnold talk about improving as a coach made a big difference for Werth.

“It really gives us a boost of confidence,” she said. “We know she’d going to be proud of us no matter the outcome and that she loves us for who we are. Ultimately, she’s happy to be coaching us.”

Werth had her eye on winning substate.

“That’s my goal right now.” she said. “If we win then I’ll move onto the next thing because if we’re here we might as well go all the way.”

Hillsboro headed into the weekend’s substate at Inman as the tournament’s top seed. Werth passed much of that credit to her teammates who pushed through a middling 2019 season and made a sizable jump this year.

“It proves that these girls worked so hard last year and never gave up while I was out,” she said. “I was able to get in the gym a lot to work up to their skill level. The fact that we have three losses right now, it’s incredible.”

Despite having the best record at substate, she knew every match could be dangerous for the Trojans. Werth placed particular emphasis on teams like Sterling that Hillsboro struggled against during the season.

“The teams in our substate are going to show up or they’re not, so we need to come with our absolute best,” she said. “Any team can upset anybody.”

The Trojans avoided that pitfall, and lost just one set on their way to winning substate.

Last modified Oct. 29, 2020

 

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