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Freshman Basketball Player
In 2000, then-Lipscomb University freshman basketball player Kaia Jergenson suffered a severe case of bacterial meningitis, losing parts of both legs in order to stop the spread of the infection.
Kaia Jergenson of Lipscomb University; Michelle Thomas of the University of Oklahoma; and Marcharia Yuot of Widener University, were announced Thursday as recipients and will receive the award at the NCAA Honors Dinner on Jan. 9 in Dallas.
Jergenson, a former basketball player, averaged 12 points and six rebounds through the first half of her freshman season before being hospitalized with meningococcal septicemia, a bacterial infection in her bloodstream. Doctors had to amputate both of her legs six inches below the knees, as well as some of her fingers on her right hand to contain the infection. She has since returned to the classroom and now serves as the basketball team's manager. A senior, she majors in biology, chemistry and Spanish with a 3.55 GPA.
Deservedly and expectedly, Lipscomb University's Kaia Jergenson was one of three student athletes to receive the NCAA's 2005 Inspiration Award Thursday.Jergenson, a former Lipscomb basketball player, survived the life-threatening meningococcal septicemia - a bacterial infection in the bloodstream - but had both of her legs amputated below the knees and lost several fingers on her right hand in the process.Jergenson, now a senior majoring in biology, chemistry and Spanish, maintains a 3.55 GPA and returned to become the team's manager.Jergenson will graduate in May 2005, just 17 months after doctors gave her little hope of surviving her ailment.During her freshman season, Jergenson was a standout player for the Bisons, as the 6-2 post averaged 12 points and six rebounds a game.
Kaia Jergenson of Lipscomb University; Michelle Thomas of the University of Oklahoma; and Marcharia Yuot of Widener University, will be presented the award at the NCAA Honors Dinner Sunday, January 9, as part of the NCAA Convention in Dallas. Kaia Jergenson, Lipscomb UniversityOn January 4, 2004, Jergenson, a six-foot-two freshman basketball player, who averaged 12 points and six rebounds per game through the first half of the season, had to be rushed to a hospital emergency room.She was unconscious and suffering from meningococcal septicemia (a bacterial infection in her bloodstream).Doctors gave her little hope of survival. Several weeks later, Jergenson awoke briefly to tell her parents that her hands and feet were in pain.Surgeons amputated both of her legs six inches below the knees, as well as some of her fingers on her right hand that were potentially causing the infection.After the surgery, she endured several muscle and skin grafts to begin the process of reconstructing her body.In March, while still in the hospital rehabilitating, Jergenson experienced another trauma when her feeding tube became infected and her weight faded to 100 pounds.Once again, Jergenson refused to stop fighting and recovered, overcoming another life-threatening obstacle. Despite her tremendous loss, Jergenson returned to the classroom and to the Lady Bison basketball team where she has served as team manager for the past four years.She is in her senior year majoring in biology, chemistry and Spanish with a 3.55 G.P.A. After graduating in May 2005, Jergenson would like to attend medical school. A native of Gallatin, Tennessee, Jergenson's positive attitude and perseverance are evident as she continues to overcome obstacles in her recovery.She was the recipient of the Athena Award of Tennessee and the Kaia Jergenson Courage Award, which the Nashville Sports Council established in her honor.
Lipscomb basketball player Kaia Jergenson was the highlight of the evening as she won the very first Courage Award for her miracle recovery from meningococcal disease.