Playing through pain is common in athletes, it’s more a matter of how much pain one person can take.
Doubt doesn’t creep into the mind of Breonna Snowberger.
“I don’t really like to give up on the things that I do,” Snowberger said.
“She’s a gutsy kid, she pushes through a lot,” Hollidaysburg Track Coach Don Tantius said.
On the outside, everything looks bright for the cheerleader, track athlete, and honors student at Hollidaysburgh High School, but inside tells a different story.
“When I was younger, I would get headaches and eventually started to lose my vision,” Snowberger said.
Doctors would diagnose Breonna with migraines but the junior still felt something was wrong.
“One time at cheerleading practice, we were doing handstands and it felt like my head was going to explode,” Snowberger said.
“We would go to the mall, and she would grab me, and her vision would go and come and I’m like yeah, it’s not migraines,” Michele Snowberger, Breonna’s mom, said.
“We had a feeling something was wrong we just didn’t know what,” Breonna said.
An MRI revealed Breonna was suffering from Chiari Malformation, a rare disease where the cerebellum extends into the spinal cord, blocking fluid to the brain.
“Doing a google research was not a thing to do, there were more horror stories of Chiari, that had me scared.” Michele said.
Doctors performed surgery to relieve the pain adn initially everything was better.
“It was relief,” Breonna said.
But during her rehab, doubt started to creep in to Breonna’s head.
“I felt like I was going in reverse, and things weren’t getting better at all and it would just be one thing after another, and it was hard,” Breonna said.
“Breonna broke down one day in her class and she wouldn’t take any help,” Michele said.
But eventually mind won over matter.
“One day at cheerleading we were just messing around, how about we put you up in a stunt and that was the turning point and then I knew things would go back to normal,” Breonna said.
It showed, Breonna rejoined the track team and for the first time in her life, everything felt right.
“I don’t have to stop what I’m doing, stop hanging out with my friends, just to go in and fix my headache, I can just do whatever,” Breonna said.
Inspiring all who surround her.
“Life is valuable and you can’t let one thing stop you from doing bigger things,” Breonna said.
“Someone like that who has an internal injury, you know you don’t realize the headaches, you don’t realize what’s going on internally, the kids that see that she’s overcome that, that’s inspirational,” Hollidaysburg Track Coach Don Tantius said.