The Wolfpacker

Sept./Oct. 2021

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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44 ■ THE WOLFPACKER BY JUSTIN H. WILLIAMS argot Ridgeway spent one season at U.C. Davis before transferring to NC State in 2019. N o r t h e r n C a l i f o r n i a wasn't the right fit for the Fair Haven, N.J., native, so she decided to move to Raleigh to be closer to her family. She appeared in three matches during her sophomore campaign, logging a total of 85 minutes in 2019. Throughout her first season with the Wolfpack, she frequently experienced mi- graine headaches with aura, which pain- fully impacts a person's vision and hearing. In March 2020, all spring athletic ac- tivities were abruptly halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Like most of her teammates, Ridgeway went home to quar- antine with her family. One day last summer, after a few months back in New Jersey, she began suffering from a severe headache. But this time, some of the symptoms were differ- ent. She didn't think anything of it at first and spent a day at the pool with friends. That night, a few of her peers noticed that she had started slurring her words. "I was speaking gibberish, basically," Ridgeway remembered. "I couldn't form sentences. I knew what I wanted to say, but I couldn't say them. It was the same thing when I was trying to text or Snapchat peo- ple. I couldn't type out the things I wanted to say. At that point, they thought I was drunk or that I was messing with them." Her concerned friends didn't let her drive home. When she woke up, her head was in even more pain than before. She drove home and went straight to bed. As the day went on, her speech wors- ened and she couldn't stop throwing up. Her mother became worried and took her to the local hospital, but her parents couldn't come in with her due to pan- demic protocols. Growing up playing competitive soccer from a young age, Ridgeway had already suffered two concussions in her life. When she tried to explain her symptoms to the doctors, they assumed she had suffered M TRUE GRIT Senior Women's Soccer Player Margot Ridgeway Quickly Battled Her Way Back To The Pitch After Suffering A Stroke Ridgeway had a stroke in June 2020, but returned to play in seven matches, starting four, during the spring of 2021. PHOTO COURTESY NC STATE ATHLETICS

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