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Northland Teen Figure Skater Overcomes Odds To Get Back on the Ice

Madeline Mudd skates on the ice before her brain aneurysm

Now that the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics have come and gone, we have been able to see remarkable feats of triumph and overcoming adversity. One of the most beloved events in the Winter Olympics is the Women’s Figure Skating competition, and right here in Kansas City’s Northland, we have an athlete who falls under many of the categories that intrigue Olympic viewers: Women’s Figure Skating: Check; Elite Athlete: Check; Overcoming Adversity: Check AND Check.

Northland teenager Madeline Mudd loves being on the ice. The elite figure skater has spent countless hours perfecting her craft; however, in early July of 2013 she was sidelined by a brain aneurysm that nearly cost her life (McDonnell 1).

Once she arrived at the hospital, her parents were told that her odds were not favorable. "’They told us some very alarming statistics,’ said Madeline's mother, Marcie Mudd. ‘One-third of the patients don't make it to the hospital. One-third of the patients don't make it through surgery and one-third of the patients recover’" (McDonnell 1).

Apparently, these doctors had not met the likes of Madeline Mudd. She was not going down without a fight. Even after the initial surgery to correct the aneurysm was successful, Madeline faced another challenge: Swelling of the brain.

Her doctors chose to remove part of her frontal skull to release the tension of the swelling, and in order to preserve those pieces which they intended to replace once the swelling subsided, they inserted the pieces of her skull into her abdomen (McDonnell 1).

"’It reduced the rejection issue they were running into and it certainly has worked out with her,’ said Madeline Mudd's father, Tim Mudd” (McDonnell 1).

Later, after the swelling was relieved, the bones were put back in, and within weeks, Madeline was on the track toward recovery. She has endured physical therapy and rehabilitation, but in the grand scheme of things, she has made a remarkable recovery.

She is able to get back on the ice, and who knows what this remarkable young woman will do? Perhaps in four years, we will be cheering for her in the Winter Olympics. She is truly an example of perseverance and the reality that miracles do happen.

“KC Teen Survives Aneurysm, Returns to Skating.” February 27, 2014.

McDonnell, Scott. “Teen's Recovery After Aneurysm Beats the Odds: Doctors Store Portion of Skull in Madeline Mudd's Abdomen After Surgery.” September 8, 2013.

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