WCI’s Darci M. Beats Medical Odds, Will Join Gryphons Field Hockey

Darci M. has committed to join the University of Guelph Gryphons field hockey team next year. Photo contributed by Mr. Bishop.

Despite this pandemic, Darci M., a fifth year student athlete at WCI, has succeeded in securing a field hockey scholarship from University of Guelph for next year. Hers is a story of triumph.

In April of grade 8, Darci was diagnosed with complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) where she was told she was never going to be able to walk again. She had beaten it the first time, earlier in her life, but it came back between grade 8 and grade 9. The pain started in her ankle and spread through her whole body.

She worked hard to recover and this determination has lead her to University of Guelph with a field hockey scholarship for the 2021-2022 school year.

Darci M. (right) during a playoff game last year. Photo by Mr. Bishop.

When asked how she recovered, said, “It was really hard to stay positive but the only thing that kept me going was the dream of returning to hockey again.”

Darci had several doctors that told her to stop setting her goals so high, but she ignored them because returning back to the field was the only thing that would make her happy.

Darci’s scholarship from Guelph was not unexpected as she has been verbally and physically committed to joining the Gryphons since last summer.

“I went and did an unofficial tour and spent the night in residence with one of the players on the team,” said Darci about her connection. She also had the chance to attend classes for her program and a team practice in January.

Although she has been in touch with the school, her hockey coach played a huge role on securing the scholarship. “I’m really lucky and my coach with the Guelph Cobra is actually the University of Guelph coach as well, so that was the way I was recruited.”

Her reaction receiving a scholarship was one of elation. “Announcing my commitment to Guelph was the best feeling in the world. I just think back to how far I have come over the years. I’m no longer the little girl in the hospital being told she would not beat the odds. I was given a second chance when it came to field hockey.”

Even though the scholarship was a huge accomplishment for Darci, she always planned on going to the US with a D1 offer to play ice hockey. However, she lost that opportunity after she got diagnosed with CRPS in grade 9.

“But once I found out I was good at field hockey, Guelph was always my first choice because they have been a powerhouse over the years, and they also offered my [academic] program,” said Darci.

Darci M. pictured during a game against KCI last year. Photo contributed by Mr. Bishop.

Her response to how she was feeling after beating CRPS is one of building awareness: “My biggest thing about CRPS is that it is such a rare disease, no one knows about it; most doctors don’t even know about it. I was misdiagnosed many times, so I just want to raise as much awareness as possible for it so that if there is someone struggling, too, they know they’re not alone.”