Imagine having a plan for your life and then one day it’s interrupted and you’re told you’ll never be able to do what you love again. Freshman Lindsey Marriott went from competing nationally in cross-country races and track events to having her whole life thrown off course after a brain aneurysm rupture at 16 years old.
Marriott started running at a young age and instantly became passionate about it. Her career officially began on the middle school track team.
Her coaches noticed her skill for the sport and advised her to look for additional coaching and teams outside of the school team, so she got started with a national team. She continued to compete on the national team in high school, but also ran for her school. She qualified for state competitions in cross-country and outdoor track her freshman year and broke many of her school’s records.
Marriott’s sophomore season was a career year. She was getting a personal record at every race, qualified for state, and got 10th place overall in the USATF Junior Olympic meet.
Nineteen days after her success in the USATF Junior Olympic meet, she was celebrating her birthday in Disney World when she collapsed while walking due to a brain aneurysm rupture. She was rushed to the emergency room where she remained in a medically-induced coma for 16 days.
After 10 days in the hospital, the staff decided that they were going to take Marriott out of the coma. When this happened, her right lung collapsed and she went “code blue”. She remained in the hospital for 9 more days until she was able to go home and start impatient therapy. Lindsey was in inpatient therapy for eight days.
The day of her brain aneurysm, she wrote off her dreams of being able to run for a Division I college program. She was told it wouldn’t be a possibility. Fifty-seven percent of people who recover from a ruptured brain aneurysm will have disabilities.
Marriott accepted the fact that she wouldn’t be able to compete at that level, but she really wanted to be able to run again in general.
It took her a long time to be cleared to do any physical activity at all. She was thrilled when she was cleared to exercise again, but she was limited to using Stairmaster and a stationary bike while being monitored by doctors. On her first attempt, she completed 100 flights.
However, she wasn’t allowed to run. She went through lots of doctor’s appointments, brain scans and blood tests to try and figure out why the aneurysm occurred and to determine whether she would ever be able to run again.
At one of her appointments she was told that she was going to take a test to see if she could run again. Being able to continue with her number-one passion was dependent on a test.
Luckily, she passed. Her first day back to running, she was cleared to run one mile.
“I was super excited for that one mile, but it hurt so much,” Marriott said. “I was so excited about it that I had an adrenaline rush which helped me make it the whole mile.”
After two weeks of monitored running at a low milage, she was cleared to start training as normal again.
The first thing she did once she could run again was rejoin her high school’s track team, one week before the first meet. Seventy-five days after having a brain aneurysm, Marriott competed in the 3200 and won.
With all of her success, she and her family decided to reconsider trying to get her to run for a Division I college team. She was given the opportunity to run for Lipscomb and was overjoyed.
Her goal is to beat her personal record for a 5K, 18:18, from before her brain aneurysm, a goal she almost reached during indoor track season with a time of 18:33:56.
She will be a distance runner for Lipscomb’s track and field team this spring, running from the 1000 to a 5K. She’s excited to grow as a runner, but also grow closer to her teammates, she said.