Mansfield University women's soccer player returns to competition after suffering a stroke
MANSFIELD, P.A. (WENY) - Madison Reinert is a junior Education major at Mansfield University and plays midfield for the Mountaineers women's soccer program.
Last year, just one week before she was supposed to move in for preseason, Madison suffered a stroke. She also had a brain bleed which caused multiple seizures. With the physical toll the stroke took on her body, Madison's 2021 season was over with the question of whether she would return to play soccer.
"The whole right side of my body went completely dead. I had no feeling anywhere, and I couldn't speak. The only word I could say was yeah. So that happened for a good three days and I was in and out of consciousness for a good three days" said Reinert. "It was terrifying, every time I would go to bed after I came home from the hospital I'd be scared I was going to have another one so I was sleeping downstairs next to my parent's room for a good week to two weeks," she added.
Madison spent a week and a half in the hospital. She went through speech therapy, physical therapy, and occupational therapy. Then, she did outpatient therapy for a month, and ever since, she slowly recovered and continued to make progress.
In the spring, Reinert was cleared to play again. She started to train with the team, had a great preseason, and on Sunday in a season-opening win over Salem University, Madison scored a goal in her first game back after missing a season as the Mountaineers beat Salem University, 5-0.
"I was just ecstatic, I was really happy," said Reinert. "I feel like my teammates were happier for me because I thought initially the ball was going to go over the net, but when it went in I just kind of looked at my team and they were all going towards me and gave me a big hug and it felt really good."
During Madison's journey, Head Coach John Shaffer talked about how special it was to see the team rally around her, and this journey has shown the type of person she is.
"A year ago, she was trying to walk and we were celebrating her taking two steps out of a hospital bed, and I just wanted her to have a healthy life" said Shaffer. "
"She will do amazing in whatever comes her way in life because of her ability to overcome and to stay positive in the darkest of times. She always believed she would be back, we believed in her, we supported her and she just persevered through such a difficult time."
"I had been up here two or three times in the fall just to watch my team play and it was really emotional for me because soccer is a big part of my life and I would love to be playing but I knew I couldn't so being back here and being able to play means a ton," said Reinert.
Madison tells WENY Sports she feels about 97% recovered, but she will take the field with the Mountaineers again on Wednesday when they host Bloomsburg at 4 PM.