Maggie Meier: Teen in Coma Shoots Hoops

Maggie Meier

High school student and basketball star, Maggie Meier, has come a long way in just a few years. In late February, she was recognized on Senior Night at Blue Valley Northwest High School in Overland Park, Kansas. If you watched Meier play as part of the starting lineup you would have never guessed that three years ago she was in a coma.

One day in November 2008, freshman Meier complained of feeling ill. When she was rushed to the hospital doctors diagnosed her with “mycoplasma meningoencephalitis,” a condition in which a bacterial infection, meningitis, causes swelling to the brain. Meier had 20 seizures and was in a coma for almost 3 months. Meier’s parents and 5 siblings were worried about how Maggie would recover, but then something miraculous happened.

Even while in an unconscious state, Maggie’s love for the game prevailed.

Her family noticed that occasionally Maggie made shooting motions with her arms. The family then sat Maggie in a chair, set up a makeshift hoop, and gave the teen a beach ball. Meier would wake for 2 to 5 minutes, shoot hoops, and then resume an unconscious state. The doctors were amazed. Her neurologist, Dr. William Graff, says that this was an incredible feat. She couldn’t walk or eat, but this “perfect shooting motion” was ingrained in her brain.

Meier slowly started to recover with great difficulty, since coming out of her coma. She was very “childlike” in the beginning and had to relearn basic social cues. She also had to learn how to walk, talk, and read again. After working with a special education teacher and therapists, Meier was able to catch up with her classmates. She also made strides in basketball. As a sophomore, she was on the junior varsity team, and as a junior, she joined the varsity team.

Now a senior and our Mindful Hero, Meier plans to attend Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas later this year. And after her ordeal, she plans to major in nursing or special education in order to help others.