Growing up without haemophilia
Wed 20 Jan 2016
Due to a late diagnosis of haemophilia my upbringing was heavily influenced by my sporting lifestyle.
Coming from a family of Olympians and world record holders for athletics, being active and healthy was just another normal part of my life. I spent my early years trying out different sports. Football and athletics were the first sports I got involved in. However when I was eight I was asked to fill in for a social team at my local sports centre and the very first time I got the ball I tucked it into my chest and ran down the court. Although this was not the way to play basketball at all, I was hooked! I continued to play for that social team for the next five years.
Along the way I started to play for my local district team, and playing in under 12s gave me the opportunity to not only to pursue my passion for basketball, but led to finding people who have become life-long friends. My club was not one of the strongest clubs at the time and therefore to stay competitive a lot of hard work had to be put in to get results. After being invited to a talent identification camp I was training with the best players from every club in the state in order to be identified as a possible candidate for the South Australian Sports Institute’s (SASI) basketball program. I was lucky enough to be invited to be a part of SASI and at this point I also started playing for my high school team which led to my week consisting of five trainings a week along with two games.
Throughout these years I, like the majority of other players, would get injured from time to time. I however noticed that I seemed to be taking longer for my injuries to recover, It wasn’t until an incident leading to a bleeding stomach ulcer that led to my diagnosis of mild haemophilia at age 14. Once I was diagnosed it was a light bulb moment and suddenly all the injured in the past started to make sense.
After recovering from my stomach ulcer and investing in some padded under armour I returned to basketball, however only after being back for six months I developed inhibitors which caused me to be not only out of basketball for the following six months but out of school, and for the majority of the time off my feet. During this time I lost lots of my body weight, weighing only 45kg. After going through many different types of treatments I was finally able to get rid of the inhibitors through antibody treatment and now had a decision to make about my basketball.
I decide to downgrade my basketball commitments and left SASI and moved to a lower division for my district team and continued to play for my school team. Although still not at the physical level I was at before getting inhibitors I was continually having to miss out on games for both teams and therefore at the end of the season I decided to focus only on school basketball.
In 2012 our school basketball team had the opportunity to compete in the Division 1 School Nationals and it was an incredible experience, I unfortunately got an ankle bleed half way through the week due to the constant strain playing one or two games every day. It was also a turning point where I realised that the constant bleeds from basketball were having a negative impact on my life so I decided the following year to just focus on finishing year 12.
It’s 2015 now and I’ve not returned to competitive basketball but still have a passion for it and I’ve learnt to apply my passion through different ways. I’ve been an umpire for the social basketball program where I first started playing basketball. I have also helped coach junior basketball teams for my old school and every now and then will play in a social league with friends. So whilst I may have stopped playing basketball for the time being I have allowed myself to find ways to still be able to participate in the sport that I love.