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Karson Kocher – A Tough Road To The Top

October 29, 2007 11:03 AM

Today, Karson Kocher and her team, the Wildewood Crush from USTA Southern (Columbia, South Carolina) defeated USTA Midwest (Milwaukee, Wisconsin) to capture first place at the 2007 USTA Jr. Team Tennis 18 & Under Intermediate National Championship. In route to their victory, Karson and her sister, Madison Kocher, teamed up to win all four od their doubles matches without dropping a set.

While each of the 250 athletes competing here this weekend put themselves through rigorous and dedicated training both on and off the court, Karson's road to the top has proven tougher than most. Three and a half years ago, Karson battled for her life as an insidious tumor struck a devastating blow causing intracranial bleeding and a three week long coma. Extensive medical testing revealed an inoperable brain tumor. In the blink of an eye, Karson's life changed forever.

Karson has always been the youngest member of the Wildewood Crush team earning a position on the original 12 and under team at the age of 7. Prior to her hemorrhage, Karson was close to being a tennis prodigy with honed ground strokes, accurate volleys and a vicious control of the court. Her intracranial bleeding left her paralyzed on the right side of her body and also caused poor memory recall, even causing her to forget her basic ABC's. She went from being an A fifth grade student to relearning her alphabet and from being an accomplished athlete to relearning how to walk again.

Karson would start the most intensive rehabilitation imaginable. Each day, she would undergo 8-10 hours of academic tutoring and continuous rehab focus on specific muscle groups that began to regain function. The process has been slow, but continuous and fruitful.

Three and one-half years later, Karson is now successfully performing rigorous eigth grade work at Hammond School and playing competitive tennis.

This year’s National Championships event, held October 26-29 at the Hilton El Conquistador Resort in Tucson, Arizona, consisted of 32 teams from all over the country. Each team had won their local, regional and sectional championships to earn their spot at this weekend's event. After winning their flight contested on Friday and Saturday, Wildewood Crush defeated USTA Florida (Miami, Florida) in the semi-final round earning a spot in Sunday’s final championship round against USTA Midwest (Milwaukee, Wisconsin). In the today’s final, Wildewood Crush won the contest by a score of 47-30.

While Karson enjoys winning and will cherish the memories and victory achieved this weekend, she also understands that it is not all about winning.

“Win or lose, in the grand scheme of things, it’s only a game,” stated Karson. She went on to say, “The journey to get here has been a nightmare. But my parents and my sister are a blessing to me. They help me out so much.” Karson also commented on her team stating, “I love my team. There are no better people than them.”

Karson’s sister Madison commented on their doubles match performances this weekend stating, “she’s amazing and able to hold up to pressure so well. We have good chemistry on the court.”




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