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The Daily Ardmoreite
  • Rogers fights through illness for Wolves

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  • Kendal Rogers leads what could be seen as a model life.
    She is blessed with outstanding athletic ability, to the point where the senior is one of the top players on the basketball and softball squads at Davis High School. An attractive and gregarious young lady, Rogers is well-liked and popular among the students.
    "She's always joking," Davis softball coach David Griffin said. "But at the same time, she's a leader, sets a great example with how she works."
    But there is a darker side to Rogers' life; a shadow that has plagued her, doggedly, for over two years.
    It began during the Bedlam football game between Oklahoma and Oklahoma State on Dec. 3, 2011. Rogers was in attendance with friends and remembers eating a hot dog at the game, then several hours later, experiencing a severe case of nausea.
    "I got so sick I couldn't stand up and started throwing up," Rogers said. "My brothers took me to the hospital."
    In what can politely be described as a questionable decision by the medical staff, Rogers was given some basic fluids and released without further analysis.
    "They wouldn't treat me because they thought I was just a drunk kid," Rogers said.
    Rogers went without incident for the next six weeks, until she once again became sick during a basketball tournament. Her parents took her to the hospital this time, and she was treated more carefully, but still without much accuracy.
    "They treated me like I had an eating disorder," Rogers said. "They just made assumptions because I was a high school kid.
    "It was frustrating."
    Rogers had intermittent incidences over the next two years, often during her athletic endeavors. Griffin, slowly, began to notice that something was wrong.
    "She would have these moments when she was getting sick," Griffin said. "And I would try to be careful with her, trying not to make her do too much.
    "But nobody really thought it was anything serious at first."
    He distinctly remembers one instance before a softball game when Rogers asked permission to quickly go home, then returned just before the start of the game.
    "She came back and had a great day, think she hit a home run," Griffin said. "I found out after the game that she had gone home to throw up."
    Her basketball coach, Jeff Brown, who has relied on Rogers' contributions all season long for a surprising 15-6 Wolves' squad, came into his first season knowing some of the vague details, but nothing concrete.
    But even he could see that desperation was starting to sink in for Rogers and her family.
    "It got so serious in the late summer that they took her gall bladder out, thinking that might be the problem," Brown said. "But when it came into basketball season, there were times in games when she would get sick, have to go throw up, and then try to check herself back into the game."
    Page 2 of 2 - Finally, to both her and her family's relief, Rogers got a diagnosis this past month; a rare condition known by several names, but described to her as Celiac Artery Compression Syndrome.
    It is defined as the development of an abnormal artery that constricts the celiac trunk and, hypothetically, create blood loss in the abdominal area, leading to weight loss and other symptoms of anorexia.
    For Rogers, the symptoms were jostled and made more severe by her participation in sports. To draw a parallel, imagine Michael Jordan's infamous Flu Game, but played almost every night.
    It is a fate that Rogers has accepted, and one she will not let stop her from participating.
    "It's gotten easier since now I know what's going on," said Rogers, an All-Ardmoreite Super Team selection as a junior. "I don't always feel great during the games, but I just push through it."
    There may be some relief for her in the near future. A small surgical procedure last Wednesday to numb Rogers' arteries showed that another procedure could possibly cure the condition, but no physician in Oklahoma is capable of the procedure. As of press time, there was no confirmation yet on whether Rogers had set up anything out of state.
    Until then, Rogers will keep playing. Why?
    Because it matters to her.
    "I just like sports and this is my senior year," Rogers said.
    Spencer White
    221-6527
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