Running into Trouble: Reflection on an athlete’s health scare

Many miles of running going into  her freshman year took a toll on Adelaide Berrett. Two years later, the Sentinels Editor-in-Chief shares her health scare.


Many miles of running going into her freshman year took a toll on Adelaide Berrett. Two years later, the Sentinel’s Editor-in-Chief shares her health scare.

Adelaide Berrett, Editor-in-Chief

Editor’s note: On May 19, 2022, this article earned an honorable mention in the personal commentary category of the countywide Lesher Awards for student newspapers.

When I was a freshman, I almost died.

There were many contributing factors but it all boils down to the fact that I had run 100 miles in two months and was not eating enough to support that amount of intense exercise.

My body suffered a nutritional-deficiency issue, meaning there was not enough input of nutrients in my body and a huge increase of the output of nutrients during exercise. This caused my body to slow down to try and play catch-up for the small amounts of food I was eating. I lost ten pounds in two months. My digestive system began to decelerate. My resting heart rate dropped to a deadly 43 BPM. Medical personnel usually hospitalize patients at 45 BPM. Although not hospitalized, I was basically put on bedrest. 

Even after this bedrest lifted, I was restricted from participating in any physical activity. As someone who had run, swam, kicked a soccer ball, shot hoops, and smacked volleyballs all of my life, this was life-changing. Instead of physical action, I faced agonizing months of balancing the intake and output of nutrients. I was given no timeline of a recovery because there was no way of knowing when I’d recover. I was forced to leave my cross country team and PE class because I wasn’t able to participate for an extensive period of time.

Now a second-semester junior, my body has still not fully recovered. I still am required to eat an enormous amount of nutrients. Myriads of other health issues sprouting from this one have kept me from participating in sports. I can barely walk a mile without being completely out of breath and on the verge of passing out.

Looking back on my decisions, I must ask myself, what was the allure of running? Was earning the T-shirt proclaiming I had run 100 miles so tempting that I was willing to cast aside the physical discomfort? Was my ability to run seven miles in an hour worth what would become years of indescribable, agonizing pain? 

The short answer: no, it was not worth it. My life will never be the same. Even with my physical wounds healing, I will always carry the trauma of almost being taken from the Earth at a mere 14 years old.

However, I did not die that day. I am incredibly thankful for the opportunity to struggle because the struggle means that I have a purpose, that these trials occurred for a reason. Years from now, I know I will be able to look back on these events knowing that it was important for my personal development. 

Even if I cannot physically run, I am slowly progressing in the marathon of life.