WAYNESBURG (KDKA) — The Waynesburg Central High School girls’ basketball team played Avella without one of their key players Friday night. Her name is Morgan McDowell, and she is 17.
“Instantly, tears started running down,” teammate and captain Kirsten Garber said.
Morgan collapsed to the ground during a game Monday night.
“She has a history of trouble and wears a knee brace when she plays. We didn’t know if her knee gave out,” girls’ head basketball coach John Garber said.
Morgan’s mom ran to her side.
“She would look at me, but she couldn’t respond to me,” Morgan’s mom, Karla McDowell, said.
Morgan was rushed to UPMC Presbyterian Hospital.
“They went through an artery in the leg and took out a clot in the back of her head,” Karla said.
Turns out, Morgan had a stroke.
“Just to think it’s a stroke at 17-years-old. It was crazy,” Kirsten said.
Doctors told Morgan’s parents their daughter has a long road to recovery, but she’s been making small improvements every day.
“This is a very rare blood disease she has. It’s called Factor V deficiency,” Karla said.
But her family has no doubt Morgan will pull through.
“Knowing Morgan, she will be just as productive as she was before. This is just a bump in the road for her,” Morgan’s dad, Keith McDowell, said.
Her teammates and the community have been by her side, praying for a quick recovery.
“She’s a pick-me-up kind of girl. I miss her a lot,” teammate Taylor Staley said.
“All week we’ve had so much support. It’s just overwhelming,” Keith said.
The McDowells say Morgan has never shown signs of an underlying medical condition before. They say Morgan is being transferred to the Children’s Home in Pittsburgh on Saturday so she can start her rehab.
The community will be holding a benefit for Morgan and her family at 11 a.m. on Feb. 7 at the Nnineveh Community Center in Morris Township, Greene County.