A STROKE OF GOOD OR BAD LUCK?: Heyer Returns to Field After Terrifying Year
A YEAR AGO, MAZLYN HEYER – WAS A TYPICAL SOPHOMORE IN HIGH SCHOOL WHEN EVERYTHING CHANGED.
“I was doing my work, talking with my friends and I could see how they were looking at me,” Heyer said. “They couldn’t understand me, and I was talking gibberish. I wasn’t making any sense at all.”
Heyer was having a stroke, a brain aneurism…an AVM – Arteriovenous Malformation. That was January 12, 2021.
“I texted my dad and he rushed to get me,” she said. “I went home and thought I was just going to rest for a little bit. My dad called my doctor and they said to call 911 right now.”
By the end of the day, Heyer was ambulanced to Texas Children’s Hospital. The neurosurgeon and cardiovascular specialist were preparing Heyer and her family for brain surgery.
“I couldn’t have the surgery immediately because there was a lot of preparation and mapping that needed to be done,” she said. “It had to be scheduled with all of the surgeons before it could be done. It was pretty complicated.”
She also tested positive for COVID-19 during that time and would have to wait for a negative test before having the surgery.
“My parents were very scared,” she said. “Way more scared them me, maybe because I didn’t know the severity of the situation.”
She made it to and through surgery but her brain basically hit the reset button. She was weak and lost some motor-function.
“It was a lot of speech therapy, physical therapy and occupational therapy,” she said. “I was very weak on my left side and had to retrain my body to walk, read and write.”
All during her recovery, something motivated her.
“I wanted to get back to where I was and even better – on the softball field,” she said. “What pushed me during my recovery was that my mom would put on GameChanger. I would be in pain and drugged up sometimes in the hospital, but just being able to hear the games really motived me.
“I kept thinking that I only have two years left and I wanted a starting position back on the softball field.”
Days before, during physical therapy she walked into a wall of wet paint at the hospital due to her weakness on her left side.
Well, sure enough a month after surgery Heyer was back in school where she takes all dual-credit classes and is currently ranked No. 12 in her grade.
“I kept asking, when could I go back to softball?” she said. “My doctor said he didn’t want me to ever play again. I just kept pushing and six months later he let me hit off a tee. I kept progressing and I was fully cleared to play softball again in August.”
All eyes have been on Mazlyn since her stroke. Not on the diamond, but just making sure she was okay.
“It took three months after the surgery for my parents to let me hang out in my room by myself,” she laughed. “No, literally. Everyone still walks around on eggshells around me – my coaches, my parents, my teammates. Everyone calls me ‘Brain Girl’. I just feel like now I just have to prove myself a little bit more than before. I want to be known for more than just being ‘Brain Girl’.”
Heyer was a pitcher but she is still working on her stamina and velocity before she steps back in the circle. She does want to play college softball, so for now, she plays second base and patrols the outfield.
“I’ve been very fortunate through this ordeal and God has helped me with a great support system,” she said. “I couldn’t have done this without so many people’s help. I’ve missed the girls so much and can’t wait to get back on the high school field.
“But let’s just say I won’t be crashing head-first into any fences trying to rob a home run any time soon.”