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Draper soccer player on the road to recovery

Published August 4, 2011 12:04 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

For 13-year-old Mary Covey of Draper, the summer of 2011 has been all about getting back to normal.

Oh, to be tossed in the pool by big brother, or play soccer with her best friends on the Blue 98 squad, or even to have her lifeless left hand scribble just a few strokes on a piece of paper.

After being subbed out late in a girls' soccer game in early May, Covey suffered a stroke.

"It was really scary since I didn't know what was going on," said Covey, whose parents were vacationing in New Orleans at the time. "My grandparents were there, though, so that really helped."

Doctors initially diagnosed Covey as suffering a complex migraine, but tests the next day confirmed she had suffered a stroke.

The Coveys scrambled to get back to their daughter's side.

"When I first saw her, the left side of her face was drooping, and she couldn't blink her left eye and really couldn't move anything on her left side," said Mary's mother, Suzy Covey. "Once the doctors told us it was a stroke, I think she was really scared and she started asking questions like, 'Will I be in a wheelchair forever and will I be like this forever?' "

Through the hours of grueling physical therapy several times a week, Covey has kept a smile on her face. In the hospital, Covey made a list of five things she could do well. Topping the list was that she was extraordinary at wiping drool from her face.

"I'm not sure if my other kids could have gotten through this, but I think Mary's sense of humor really helped her pull through," said Suzy Covey.

Also helping her pull through has been the continued support of her Blue Knights 98 soccer squad, which continues to include Mary in their activities.

"It means a lot and it would be hard without them," said Mary Covey. "I love my soccer team and they are all my best friends."

With limited movement in her left hand, her writing hand, Covey anticipates a challenging school year ahead. Cognitive tests indicate that Covey is functioning normally and doctors anticipate a full recovery within the next 18 months.

As for normalcy, Mary attended a summer camp last week and her big brother tossed her in the pool for the first time this summer.

Life is slowly getting back to normal. —

Young victim

After being subbed out of a soccer game in early May, 13-year-old Mary Covey told a teammate that she was feeling dizzy. After collapsing to the bench, it was confirmed later that Covey had suffered a stroke.

Draper residents held a carnival this summer to benefit two Draper youths, including Covey, that had been afflicted with serious health problems.

Although doctors anticipate a near full recovery, Mary Covey will probably take a year off from competitive soccer, and hopes to return to her Blue Knights 98 squad in the summer of 2012.