Adapted athlete Olivia Maccoux is Park Center's 'Iron Woman'

  • Article by: DAVID LA VAQUE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 1, 2013 - 2:14 PM

More than 100 surgeries later, three-sport adapted athlete Olivia Maccoux refuses to let pain stop her.

hide

Olivia Maccoux, a Park Center junior who plays adapted softball in the physically impaired division, has worked hard to not let more than 100 surgeries over the course of her life get in the way of achieving her goals in sports or academics.

Photo: Jeff Wheeler, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Olivia Maccoux left an adapted soccer game last fall to vomit even though she was not ill.

Maccoux, a junior at Park Center, cried on the way home from an adapted softball game last week, tears shed not for an awful performance but because of acute pain.

Since being born 11 weeks premature, Maccoux has battled a condition called Hydrocephalus, in which excess fluid in the brain can cause potentially fatal pressure levels.

She has endured more than 100 surgeries seeking to correct the condition or ease the complications. The procedures ranged from placing titanium mesh and artificial bone behind her forehead 14 years ago to make more room for her brain to the recent removal of a port from her chest just in time for prom.

The norms of teenage life are not attainable for Maccoux, 17, without her willingness to accept extraordinary circumstances. That is why she deals with the pain before, during and after games with the Park Center/Osseo/Maple Grove physically impaired adapted sports teams and makes the adjustments necessary to get her through a school day.

“If I didn’t have schools and sports, I don’t know what else I’d be doing,” Maccoux said.

The relentless Maccoux stands out, coach Al Chuba said, on a team full of kids displaying the courage to play sports despite their challenges.

“I call her ‘Iron Woman,’ ” Chuba said. “Her resiliency is amazing.”

A three-month stay at Minneapolis Children’s Hospital forced Maccoux to miss last softball season. Otherwise, she is hard to keep out of the lineup. She’s even played with stitches in her head.

“She’s the first one to text me after a game apologizing if she didn’t play so hot,” Chuba said. “All our kids play through adversity but I tell her, ‘You’re doing what most kids won’t do.’ ”

Maccoux said she just does what comes naturally. Her parents, Dan and Cathy, encouraged Olivia and older sisters Amanda and Traci to be active. Even from a young age, Olivia Maccoux embraced her situation by wearing a helmet during dance recitals.

Maccoux attended the Hydrocephalus Association national conference last July in Washington D.C. Cathy Maccoux said her daughter was “one of the only high school students there enrolled at a public school and the only athlete whatsoever.”

Maccoux’s first participation in varsity sports came in seventh grade with Park Center’s swimming and diving team. She also played adapted floor hockey and softball and her teammates recruited her for soccer.

Soccer became her favorite sport — Maccoux made the 2010 all-tournament team for the third-place Pirates — though the running can leave her nauseous. She gets a mild scolding from her neurosurgeon for a willingness to play the ball off her titanium-enhanced forehead.

Playing sports, Maccoux admits, does aggravate her symptoms. The real pain, however, comes from within. Shunts, or valves, inside her brain and outside her skull are designed to keep correct pressures within the brain but it is an inexact science. This summer she will undergo a procedure in which doctors will adjust those valves to try and ease the pressure.

“It’s hard,” she said. “There are good days and bad days. I have the normal teenage problems. It’s harder when the medical stuff gets in the way of the normal stuff.”

An average school day starts with Maccoux waking up in some type of headache that, depending on the severity, she treats with anything from Tylenol to prescription medications.

She drives to school, where she takes mainstream classes such as algebra 2 and chemistry and maintains a 3.5 grade-point average. Most Park Center students have six hours of classroom instruction but Maccoux receives five hours with an additional hour online.

  • related content

  • RandBall: Jason Collins' former fiancee was prep basketball star at Blake

    Tuesday April 30, 2013

    good times

  • Fridley's Howard sets school record at Hamline, plans return

    Tuesday April 30, 2013

    He finished the 100-meter dash in a school-record time of 10.86 seconds

  • Olivia Maccoux, a Park Center junior who plays adapted softball in the physically impaired division, has worked hard to not let more than 100 surgeries over the course of her life get in the way of achieving her goals in sports or academics. Here she is flanked by her parents, Dan and Cathy Maccoux, in their Brooklyn Park home.

  • The Orioles, with Olivia Maccoux and Abby Witters, right, were led by coach Al Chuba, left, in a team cheer before taking to the gym floor to start their game.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Cleveland 11/23/14 12:00 PM
Atlanta
Tennessee 11/23/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Detroit 11/23/14 12:00 PM
New England
Green Bay 11/23/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Jacksonville 11/23/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Cincinnati 11/23/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Tampa Bay 11/23/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
Arizona 11/23/14 3:05 PM
Seattle
St. Louis 11/23/14 3:05 PM
San Diego
Miami 11/23/14 3:25 PM
Denver
Washington 11/23/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
Dallas 11/23/14 7:30 PM
NY Giants
NY Jets 11/24/14 6:00 PM
Buffalo
Baltimore 11/24/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Chicago 11/27/14 11:30 AM
Detroit
Philadelphia 11/27/14 3:30 PM
Dallas
Seattle 11/27/14 7:30 PM
San Francisco
Phoenix 6:00 PM
Indiana
Miami 6:00 PM
Orlando
Philadelphia 6:30 PM
New York
Toronto 6:30 PM
Cleveland
Dallas 7:00 PM
Houston
Sacramento 7:00 PM
Minnesota
Brooklyn 7:30 PM
San Antonio
Washington 7:30 PM
Milwaukee
New Orleans 8:00 PM
Utah
St. Louis 2:00 PM
Ottawa
Montreal 6:00 PM
Boston
Detroit 6:00 PM
Toronto
Minnesota 6:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Pittsburgh 6:00 PM
NY Islanders
Columbus 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
Buffalo 6:00 PM
Washington
Florida 7:00 PM
Nashville
Los Angeles 7:00 PM
Dallas
Carolina 8:00 PM
Colorado
New Jersey 9:00 PM
Calgary
Chicago 9:00 PM
Edmonton
Arizona 9:30 PM
San Jose
Incarnate Word 31 2nd Half
Princeton 27
Robert Morris 11:00 AM
Georgetown
Notre Dame 11:00 AM
Massachusetts
Saint Peters 11:30 AM
La Salle
Ball State 12:00 PM
IUPUI
Utah State 12:00 PM
Miss State
High Point 12:00 PM
Richmond
Appalachian St 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Drake 12:00 PM
Western Mich
Samford 1:00 PM
CS-Northridge
Colgate 1:00 PM
Campbell
North Carolina 1:00 PM
Davidson
North Florida 1:00 PM
Northern Iowa
UMass Lowell 1:00 PM
NJIT
Nebraska Omaha 1:30 PM
Marquette
Clemson 1:30 PM
Nevada
Florida State 1:30 PM
Providence
South Alabama 2:00 PM
Detroit
Texas State 2:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Trinity Christian 2:05 PM
Chicago State
Liberty 2:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Western State 3:00 PM
Air Force
Elon 3:00 PM
Northwestern
Canisius 3:00 PM
St Bonaventure
MD-Eastern Shore 3:00 PM
St Francis-PA
Cleveland State 3:00 PM
Savannah State
SE Missouri St 3:00 PM
Central Arkansas
UMKC 3:30 PM
Ark-Little Rock
Southern U 3:30 PM
Middle Tennessee
Longwood 3:30 PM
Youngstown St
Towson 4:00 PM
Bethune-Cookman
Loyola-Maryland 4:00 PM
Butler
San Jose St 4:00 PM
Cal State Fullerton
Texas Southern 4:00 PM
Norfolk State
Yale 4:00 PM
Southern Ill
LSU 4:00 PM
Weber State
South Dakota 4:00 PM
Wofford
Duquesne 4:00 PM
Abilene Christian
Wright State 4:30 PM
Char Southern
Miles 4:30 PM
Jacksonville St
Binghamton 4:30 PM
Manhattan
Alcorn State 4:30 PM
Kennesaw St
Bob Jones Univ 5:00 PM
Citadel
Piedmont Coll 5:00 PM
Coastal Carolina
Johnson University 5:00 PM
Ga Southern
Brown 5:00 PM
Indiana State
Colorado 5:00 PM
Wyoming
Quinnipiac 6:00 PM
Albany
Mount St Marys 6:00 PM
Bucknell
Master's College 6:00 PM
UC Santa Barbara
UNC-Asheville 6:00 PM
East Tenn St
Clermont College 6:00 PM
Eastern Ky
UNC Greensboro 6:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Sam Houston St 6:00 PM
Fairfield
American Univ 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Army 6:00 PM
Marist
Hartford 6:00 PM
Niagara
Lafayette 6:00 PM
Penn
Nebraska 6:00 PM
Rhode Island
Vermont 6:00 PM
Saint Josephs
Eastern Wash 6:00 PM
SMU
UNLV 6:00 PM
Temple
Chattanooga 6:00 PM
Tenn Tech
UNC-Wilmington 6:00 PM
Va Military
Ohio Midwestern 6:00 PM
Northern Ky
UC Davis 6:30 PM
Furman
Ill-Chicago 6:30 PM
Kent State
Transylvania 6:30 PM
Lipscomb
Central Conn St 6:30 PM
Monmouth
Oakwood 7:00 PM
Alabama A&M
Morgan State 7:00 PM
Houston
Lamar 7:00 PM
Indiana
Northeastern 7:00 PM
Navy
William & Mary 7:00 PM
Rice
Missouri State 7:00 PM
Texas Tech
TX A&M-Kingsville 7:00 PM
TX-Pan American
Southern-New Orleans 7:00 PM
Tulane
SE Louisiana 7:00 PM
Western Ill
Belmont 7:00 PM
Western Ky
Hampton 7:00 PM
North Dakota St
UMBC 7:30 PM
Minnesota
Houston Baptist 7:30 PM
Texas-Arlington
St Thomas Aquinas 8:00 PM
Gonzaga
Utah Valley U 8:00 PM
Southern Utah
New Mexico St 8:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Stanford 8:30 PM
Duke
Morehead State 8:30 PM
Presbyterian
SIU Edwardsville 9:00 PM
Portland
Boise State 9:00 PM
Wisconsin
Valparaiso 11/23/14 8:30 AM
Maine
(12) Kansas State 26 FINAL
West Virginia 20
North Carolina 45 FINAL
(25) Duke 20
Arkansas State 27 FINAL
Texas State 45
Kent State 0 Cancelled
Buffalo 0
Texas-El Paso 13 FINAL
Rice 31
Air Force 14 FINAL
San Diego St 30
San Jose St 7 FINAL
Utah State 41
Char Southern 11:00 AM
(9) Georgia
South Alabama 11:00 AM
So Carolina
Rutgers 11:00 AM
(10) Michigan State
Minnesota 11:00 AM
(21) Nebraska
Northwestern 11:00 AM
Purdue
(18) Marshall 11:00 AM
UAB
Indiana 11:00 AM
(7) Ohio State
Penn State 11:00 AM
Illinois
(14) Eastern Ky 11:00 AM
Florida
TX-San Antonio 11:00 AM
Western Ky
SMU 11:00 AM
UCF
Virginia Tech 11:30 AM
Wake Forest
Washington St 12:00 PM
(13) Arizona State
Louisiana Tech 12:00 PM
Old Dominion
Western Mich 12:00 PM
Central Mich
Kansas 12:30 PM
(23) Oklahoma
New Mexico 12:30 PM
(22) Colorado State
Eastern Mich 1:00 PM
Ball State
Appalachian St 1:00 PM
Louisiana
Tulsa 2:00 PM
Houston
(15) Arizona 2:30 PM
(20) Utah
FIU 2:30 PM
North Texas
(8) Ole Miss 2:30 PM
Arkansas
Louisville 2:30 PM
Notre Dame
Maryland 2:30 PM
Michigan
Texas Tech 2:30 PM
Iowa State
(14) Wisconsin 2:30 PM
Iowa
Syracuse 2:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Boston College 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
Georgia State 2:30 PM
Clemson
Tulane 2:30 PM
East Carolina
Stanford 3:00 PM
California
Western Carolina 3:00 PM
(2) Alabama
ULM 3:00 PM
New Mexico St
So Florida 3:00 PM
Memphis
Colorado 3:30 PM
(3) Oregon
Fla Atlantic 6:00 PM
Middle Tennessee
Samford 6:00 PM
(16) Auburn
Miami-Florida 6:00 PM
Virginia
Vanderbilt 6:30 PM
(4) Miss State
(19) Missouri 6:30 PM
Tennessee
Oklahoma State 6:30 PM
(6) Baylor
(24) USC 7:00 PM
(11) UCLA
Cincinnati 7:00 PM
Connecticut
Boise State 9:15 PM
Wyoming
Oregon State 9:30 PM
Washington
Fresno State 9:30 PM
Nevada
UNLV 10:00 PM
Hawaii
Ohio U 11/25/14 6:00 PM
Miami-Ohio
LSU 11/27/14 6:30 PM
Texas A&M
(5) TCU 11/27/14 6:30 PM
Texas
Northern Ill 11/28/14 10:00 AM
Western Mich
(21) Nebraska 11/28/14 11:00 AM
Iowa
Western Ky 11/28/14 11:00 AM
(18) Marshall
UCF 11/28/14 11:00 AM
So Florida
Houston 11/28/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Akron 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Kent State
Ball State 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Bowling Green
Buffalo 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Massachusetts
Toledo 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Arkansas 11/28/14 1:30 PM
(19) Missouri
Navy 11/28/14 2:00 PM
South Alabama
(13) Arizona State 11/28/14 2:30 PM
(15) Arizona
Stanford 11/28/14 2:30 PM
(11) UCLA
(22) Colorado State 11/28/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
Virginia 11/28/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
East Carolina 11/28/14 7:30 PM
Tulsa
BYU 11/29/14 2:00 AM
California
(20) Utah 11/29/14 2:00 AM
Colorado
(3) Oregon 11/29/14 2:00 AM
Oregon State
Kentucky 11/29/14 2:00 AM
Louisville
Notre Dame 11/29/14 2:00 AM
(24) USC
So Carolina 11/29/14 2:00 AM
Clemson
Florida 11/29/14 2:00 AM
(1) Florida State
Wake Forest 11/29/14 2:00 AM
(25) Duke
Pittsburgh 11/29/14 2:00 AM
Miami-Florida
Montreal 11/23/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 11/23/14 3:30 PM
Calgary
TBA 11/30/14 5:00 PM
TBA
Grand Canyon 11:00 AM
Austin Peay
Bowling Green 11:00 AM
Milwaukee
St Bonaventure 11:30 AM
Detroit
Illinois-Chicago 12:00 PM
Miami-Ohio
Louisiana Tech 12:00 PM
Louisiana
MD-Eastern Shore 12:00 PM
Marshall
Butler 12:00 PM
Fairfield
Central Conn St 1:00 PM
UMass Lowell
Bucknell 1:00 PM
Fairleigh Dickinson
St Marys-CA 1:00 PM
UC Davis
UNC-Asheville 1:00 PM
South Florida
Colgate 1:00 PM
Drexel
Niagara 1:00 PM
Buffalo
Vermont 1:00 PM
Boston U
Marist 1:00 PM
Northeastern
UNC-Wilmington 1:00 PM
Appalachian St
Duquesne 1:00 PM
Green Bay
Saint Josephs 1:00 PM
Liberty
Army 1:00 PM
Manhattan
Eastern Michigan 1:00 PM
TX-Pan American
Southern Ill 1:00 PM
Wright State
Youngstown St 1:00 PM
Radford
Stetson 1:30 PM
Indiana State
Rockhurst 2:00 PM
UMKC
Ark-Little Rock 2:00 PM
Rice
(23) Syracuse 2:00 PM
Jacksonville
NC Central 2:00 PM
Gardner-Webb
New Orleans 2:00 PM
Jacksonville St
(22) Rutgers 2:00 PM
LSU
Missouri State 2:00 PM
(21) Oklahoma St
Eastern Washington 2:00 PM
SMU
Houston Baptist 2:00 PM
Texas State
TX-Arlington 2:05 PM
Wichita State
(9) Maryland 2:30 PM
George Washington
Presbyterian 2:30 PM
Western Carolina
St Francis-NY 3:00 PM
Rider
Central Arkansas 3:00 PM
Jackson State
Kennesaw St 3:00 PM
Georgia Southern
Loyola-Chicago 3:00 PM
Northern Ky
Howard 3:00 PM
La Salle
San Jose St 4:00 PM
Cal-Irvine
Tennessee St 4:00 PM
Lipscomb
San Francisco 4:00 PM
UC-Riverside
Temple 4:00 PM
Kansas
San Diego 4:00 PM
Idaho
Concordia (OR) 4:00 PM
(20) Oregon State
Corban 4:00 PM
Portland State
Charleston Southern 5:00 PM
Wofford
UT Martin 5:00 PM
Pepperdine
Eastern Kentucky 5:00 PM
Mercer
Weber State 5:00 PM
Utah Valley U
North Dakota 5:30 PM
Towson
Seton Hall 6:00 PM
Penn State
LSU-Shreveport 6:00 PM
Grambling
Brown 6:00 PM
New Hampshire
Penn 6:00 PM
Navy
Xavier 6:00 PM
Binghamton
Georgetown 6:30 PM
Alabama
(13) Kentucky 7:00 PM
Central Michigan
Texas Southern 7:00 PM
TCU
South Dakota St 7:00 PM
(18) DePaul
Talladega 7:00 PM
Ark-Pine Bluff
Arkansas State 7:00 PM
Colorado
Alcorn State 7:00 PM
UAB
Tenn Tech 7:05 PM
Valparaiso
Dayton 7:30 PM
(19) Iowa
Nevada 8:30 PM
BYU

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How will the Gophers and Vikings do this weekend?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close