U.S. Figure Skating Online will feature a different club-related story every couple weeks in the Club Spotlight.
Madeline Mudd was skating an early morning practice session last July at the Line Creek Ice Arena in Kansas City, Mo. Hours later, she was admitted to the neuroscience intensive care unit (ICU) at the University of Kansas Medical Center after suffering an aneurysm and collapsing on the ice. Mudd, who had suffered an aneurysm in the right front lobe of her brain, went straight into five hours of surgery. Months of rehabilitation would follow.
"My medical journey has changed so much about me," Mudd said. "I look at those pictures when I was in a coma in the ICU and I can't believe they were me. I was just a normal teenager skating, working at Edgewise (Line Creek's pro shop) and hanging out with my friends. The next thing you know I have no memory of last year at all."
Yet, Mudd miraculously returned to the sport she loved just a few months later in November, and decided it was time to do something for the wonderful doctors, nurses and caretakers who brought her through the ordeal.
"The idea came from one of my nurses and my mom actually," Mudd said. "My family plastered my room with pictures of me while I was in a coma and they dedicated a whole wall to my skating. The doctors and nurses always stopped to look at the pictures. The charge nurse, Jen, said I should have a celebration and invite the doctors to come skate with me when I recovered. My mom said that it should be a solo tribute to the medical team that saved my life. I was seriously in a coma when they hatched this plan, but when they asked me I was very happy and wanted to do it."
On April 26 "Come Celebrate a Miracle with Us" took place at the Line Creek Arena. Mudd dedicated a solo to the special men and women who gave her back her life. Her synchro team, Kansas City Illusion, also performed. Audience members were then invited to stay for a public skate after the show.
"I worked with my coach to pick the song," Mudd said. "I took ballet for several years and I love slow and flowing music. We picked the song 'Brave' by Idina Menzel because we thought it represented where I was in my life."
Mudd was watched by her neurosurgeon, Dr. Chamoun and his wife, her cardiologist Dr. Goertz, and one of the residents, Dr. Allison. Her speech therapist even came and wore the shoes that Mudd had stoned for her. All in all, it's estimated that about 150 people came to the event. Forty people rented skates and took the ice with Mudd and her team.
Mudd believes it was her strength that brought her through this past year. "I have always felt like I am a strong person and my parents tell me I survived partly because I am so tough and I never gave up," Mudd said. "Now I am fighting to get my normal life back."
Before her aneurysm, Mudd thought of being a teacher like her mom but now wants to pursue a career in speech therapy and work with children with neurological disorders.
"I can relate to them," she said. "I also support NOPW.org. It stands for National Orange Popsicle Week. We raise awareness about strokes in young people. I am also helping the University of Kansas Medical Center to raise awareness about sign and symptoms of strokes."
Mudd's stroke was caused by an aneurysm but many other strokes can be prevented. She has also been involved with the Brain Aneurysm Foundation (bafound.org) and will also be participating at an upcoming event at her Rehab Center.
Mudd believes she would not be here today if she were not a figure skater. "I collapsed at the rink and my coach knew to call 911," she said. "If I was not a skater, I would have been home in bed and I would not have survived." And she is forever grateful for the wonderful turnout at her event.
"Once my song started I just took off and I was calm and relaxed." Mudd said. "I saw the stands full of people and I just smiled. After the skate, seeing everyone there just for me made me want to cry happy tears and I felt so loved. It was so wonderful and words just can't describe the feelings that it gave me."
Madeline Mudd with some of her medical team following her performance.
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