Former Gophers softball star Sara Groenewegen announced on Twitter that she recently spent 10 days in a medically induced coma after being diagnosed with legionnaires’ disease.
Groenewegen, 23, a three-time All-American and the Gophers all-time strikeout leader with 1,214, said she developed symptoms – fever and severe back pain -- during the Canada Cup, where she was competing for the Canadian National Team.
Legionnaire’s disease is a severe form of pneumonia, a lung inflammation usually caused by bacterial infection, according to the Mayo Clinic. Groenewegen has been at Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster.
“A few days ago, I was slowly taken out of my coma and into an intensive care unit, taking me off my medications one by one,” Groenewegen tweeted from her account @saragroe. “… I am in a lot better health condition now. I know I scared a lot of people as it was so sudden and so serious so quickly. But I just wanted to let everyone know that I am fighting for a speedy recovery.
“I’m taking it day by day with my physiotherapy. I was congratulated for standing for 10 seconds on my own the other day and that’s when it really hit me. Life can be so humbling.”
Groenewegen, a native of White Rock, British Columbia, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at age 9 and wears a computerized insulin pump during games to monitor her blood-sugar level. That disease didn’t stop her from going 31-4 with a 0.63 ERA as a senior for the Gophers in 2017, when they finished 56-5. She also smashed 36 home runs during her college career.
With softball back as an Olympic sport, Groenewegen and Team Canada have been gearing toward the 2020 summer games in Japan.
“We are all so concerned about Sara and join all Canadians in offering her and her family our thoughts at this difficult time,” Hugh Mitchener, CEO of Softball Canada said in a statement. “Sara is a fighter and stalwart member of the team and we’re hopeful for her full recovery.”
In her Twitter post, Groenewegen added: “Thank you for all your thoughts and prayers throughout my recovery process. The love is definitely being felt all around the softball community.”