Basketball player Lauren Wasylson overcomes life threatening scare to get back on the court

Mary Genrich | Staff Photographer | Duquesne women's basketball player Lauren Wasylson battles blood clots.

Mary Genrich | Staff Writer

Women’s basketball player Lauren Wasylson fights blood clots with daily self-injections to stay on the court.

Wasylson was pulled out of a Duquesne women’s basketball conditioning session on Sept. 1 by athletic trainer Travis Moyer after her teammate Ayanne “Yanni” Townsend noticed Wasylson struggling.

“She looked at me and said, ‘Are you okay?’” Wasylson said. “And I said ‘no I can’t breathe,’ and as stubborn as I was, I did not want to get out of the drill. I wanted to finish.”

A few days later, Wasylson could no longer put pressure on her calf. She called her dad crying because she could no longer walk.

“They did a scan on my calf, and they initially found a blood clot in my calf, and then they said that they are going to do a scan on my chest to make sure nothing had traveled,” Wasylson said. “Then they found two big blood clots in my chest as well as my lungs.”

Despite the scare, Wasylson has managed to make it back on court for senior year and the entirety of the conference schedule.

“If I would have finished that conditioning drill that day, I would not be here today,” Wasylson said.

At the time Wasylson was taking medication that increased the risk of blood clots. Serious cases of blood clots are known to cause heart attacks, strokes, organ damage and even death, according to the American Heart Association.

Wasylson went on a family vacation to Costa Rica.

During their travels Wasylson spent six hours unable to move around while on the plane, which increased her risk and caused clots to form.

Wasylson returned with her family and was getting back into the swing of things. She was lifting and felt pain in her shoulder blade. Thinking not much of it other than just “overdoing it.”

After receiving her diagnosis last fall, Wasylson was told the chances of her playing basketball again were very slim and that playing would be dangerous.

For Wasylson, the only option for continuing to play basketball was Enoxaparin sodium self-injections in her stomach twice a day. With her love for basketball and determination to get back on the court, she had no doubts about doing the injections.

“It does not feel good,” Wasylson said. “But I told them I would do anything possible in order to come back and play my last season.”

She especially wanted to make this comeback, not only because of everything she had been through with her ACL injury in 2021 and other past injuries, but also because this is her last year, and she wants to make the most of it.

“Right now, I still have a blood clot,” Wasylson said. “Because of that I do need to stay on blood thinners.”

She credits Townsend for saving her life.

“I am happy Yanni pulled me out of the drill when she did.”

“I think just her knowing how I respond to things and how I react to things she knew I was off that day,” Wasylson said.

Since then Wasylson has been shooting plenty of her 3-pointers. She is excited about how skilled her team is and the potential they have of making a huge run in the Atlantic-10 Championship in just under two months from now.

She is looking forward to the women’s basketball senior night on March 2 where her family will join her on the court during recognition.

“I mean it feels amazing just being able to step back on the court again. Being my last season I am so grateful for all of my doctors, Travis of course, my family, my coaches and teammates just having the trust in me to come back and make the impact,” Wasylson said .