Editor’s Note: The following story is a firsthand note to the community written by USU Women’s Basketball head coach Kayla Ard, updating fans on her recent medical complication.
I'm sure there are quite a few people in Cache Valley and at Utah State University that are wondering why I was not on the sidelines for our game against Boise State last weekend.
On Friday, Feb. 11, around 6:45 p.m., I sat down to watch the Aggie men's basketball game and noticed my throat was suddenly really sore. Within 30 minutes I knew something was really wrong. I went and looked in the mirror and the right side of my throat was swollen shut. In that moment, I stayed pretty poised, as this has happened once before in 2015 when I was coaching at Clemson. I couldn't believe it was happening again. I called my mother, who moved to Logan about seven months ago, and asked her to come pick me up and take me to the ER. We arrived at Logan Regional Hospital around 8 p.m. As the ER workers were quickly setting up to intubate me, I asked my mom to call our Athletics Director John Hartwell to let him know I wouldn't be at the game the next day. I was then put into a medically induced coma as I was intubated, and put on a ventilator, in hopes the swelling in my throat would go down so I could breathe on my own again. I was then placed in the ICU.
On Saturday, Feb. 12, just as our game against Boise State was about to begin, the doctors decided they needed to remove the tube from my throat. They took me into the operating room and prepared to do a tracheotomy if I was not able to breathe on my own once the ventilator was removed. Thankfully, by the grace of God, that wasn't the case and I started breathing on my own in the operating room. As I began to wake up, the first thing the doctors told me was, "your team just won!" I was placed in the ICU for monitoring and on Monday, Feb. 14, at 3 p.m., I was released to go home to recover.
There is no way to be certain, but the doctors believe this episode occurred because I tested positive for COVID upon my arrival at the hospital, and a big symptom of COVID is swelling. So that mixed with the history of me having angioedema seven years ago, is likely what triggered this episode. I am now on medication to avoid further issues and there is a very rare injection, much like an EpiPen, that I will have just in case it ever occurs again. I am fully vaccinated and boosted and do not have any COVID symptoms. I feel great and can't wait to get back with the squad.
Although I would love nothing more than to rejoin the team and staff today, my doctors, the USU administration and my No. 1 priority is to keep everyone healthy, so I will wait a few more days before rejoining the team. Jauwan Scaife will continue to lead the team in my absence. I am so proud of him, our staff and our team for the win over Boise State and I know they will continue to fight.
I've been overwhelmed by the love and support I've felt from the community through this situation. Thank you, Aggie Nation, for all of the texts, calls, thoughts and prayers.
Lastly, I would like to say a huge thank you to the absolutely incredible medical staff at Logan Regional Hospital. This was by far the best medical care I have ever received from the moment I arrived until the moment I was released. To the emergency room staff that was so cohesive and poised, to the doctors and specialists that were called in to make sure I made it through this, and to the ICU nurses and medical staff that were so caring and compassionate, all of you are my heroes and I'm here today because of you. THANK YOU!
Utah State Athletics
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