Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS) is a condition thats make it difficult for an individual to stand from a lying down position due to a reduced blood volume in the heart. The women’s soccer team hosted a charity match against Skidmore College in hopes to raise awareness of POTS Sept. 16 at the Field House . This charity match had been in the making for about a year prior, the idea coming from, PSUC soccer player and senior, Caitlyn Gagen. Unfortunately, Gagen was diagnosed with POTS her freshman year of college.
“We didn’t want to put her at risk, so we had to pull her out for a year.” said Franzty Noze, women’s soccer assistant coach.
Noze also added that Gagen was absolutely devastated that day in her freshman year of college.
Although Noze assisted in the planning of the event, Caitlyn’s parents, Kevin and Kelly Gagen, took full charge as lead organizers
Kevin describes the journey his family has been going through since his daughter’s diagnosis
“Caitlyn was sick her senior year of high school,” Kevin said,” she couldn’t even complete a full week.”
Caitlyn was not officially diagnosed until a year later.
“It was a relief to finally know what was going on” Says Kevin
Unfortunately the average time it takes to diagnose POTS is five to seven years. This is due to all the other conditions that POTS could be mistaken for, such as bipolar depression and chronic fatigue.
“The doctors told her to quit soccer,” Kevin said, “ but Cait pushed herself and that helped save her.”
Kevin explained that the daily exercises that Caitlyn performed every morning including a three mile run, despite needing to take a blood pill just to get out of bed, helped with her condition.
“If she wasn’t driven she would be in a wheelchair.” Kevin said. “The doctors had told us of how surprised they are with her. She does not even look sick.”
Kevin explained that the event had various sponsors such as Pizza Uno, Panera Bread and Buffalo Wild Wings.
“We are tailgating at Buffalo Wild Wings, and 10 percent of the proceeds will go to Dysautonomia International,” Kelly said.
Dysautonomia International is a non-profit organization founded in 2012 by patients, caregivers, physicians and researchers dedicated to assisting people living with various forms of dysautonomia such as POTS.
After the game Caitlyn spoke about her thoughts on the event.
“I think it’s awesome just to have my team, the coaches and my family support my battle against POTS,” Caitlyn said. “It’s never easy but with people like that it makes it a little better.”
Caitlyn explained her initial feelings towards her diagnosis.
“ I was happy because I had finally gotten diagnosed, it took a year to find out what was wrong with me.” Caitlyn said. “It’s not just a normal test you have to take, you have to rule everything out..Then, I was ready to take action on how to deal with it..soccer is a huge passion in my life.”
Caitlyn explained that her dream had always been to play soccer in college and even thinks about one day coaching women’s soccer.
“Honestly soccer saved my life because if I stopped playing soccer I don’t know where I would be right now,” she said.
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