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Tepper personifies toughness through post injury journey

Posted at 11:11 PM, Jan 22, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-22 23:11:57-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich -- Abigail Tepper injured her knee in the 1st basketball game of her senor season as a member of the Grand Rapids Catholic Central girls basketball team.

She tore her ACL and her high school playing career was over.

"I was really upset!" Tepper said. "Probably the biggest thing was I couldn`t believe that playing sports for as long as I have, like the final year that I could make my mark on everything, it was just over."

That was just the beginning. After complaining of a pain in her side, the doctors weren't sure what was causing it.

Tepper's mother, Stephanie, thought it could be a blood clot.

"Sometimes you hear stories of blood clots and an injury" Stephanie Tepper said. "Blood clot goes to the lung, things like that so that was in the back of my mind and I said to him, she tore her ACL a week ago could a blood clot of gone to her lung? And he said highly unlikely but probably to pacify me he said we`ll do a blood draw."

Stephanie was right, Abigail had a blood clot that passed through her heart to her lung. They were fortunate to catch it when they did.

6 weeks later when being checked to see if the blood clot was gone, doctors discovered a congenital heart defect.

"When I got the blood clot, it kind of made sense, maybe this is why I tore my ACL to figure out I had this blood clotting issue" Abigail said. "Then with the heart issue that just kind of put it in a bigger perspective that it wasn`t just the fact that I couldn`t play sports anymore it was just like this happened so I could see the bigger picture of the rest of my life."

She is scheduled for ACL surgery in February and heart surgery in April. Through it all her parents have been impressed with her bravery.

"She`s been very strong" Christopher Tepper, Abigail's father, said. "It`s easy for us to say there is a bigger picture, God has a plan for all of this, but to actually have to go through the surgeries, the shots twice a day, sit there on the bench and watch basketball and not only basketball she is a very gifted lacrosse player her senior is over so she has handled it very well."

Abigail is still around the basketball helping as an assistant coach. The Cougars have won 5 straight games since the start of conference play and currently sit on top of the OK Blue standings.