Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

GIRLS BASKETBALL ; Catholic's Vida Imani Overcame Adversity on Way to 1,000 Points

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

GIRLS BASKETBALL ; Catholic's Vida Imani Overcame Adversity on Way to 1,000 Points

Article excerpt

In a packed Charleston Catholic Athletic Facility last Friday night filled with people wearing shirts bearing her name, it was hard to erase the smile from senior Vida Imani's face. There were standing ovations, chants of her name and an immediate timeout by coach Zack Bogan after her first field goal - two points that gave her 1,001 for her high school career.

Imani admitted that nerves got the best of her early, and her 10 points in the Irish's 45-33 victory over Madonna hardly represented one of her better games of the season.

But what made the night and this season so special for Imani is that there were times over the course of the past year-plus that playing for any extended period was out of the question.

"I had Graves' disease, hyperthyrodism, Imani explained after the game. "I lost a lot of weight, I was very weak and I didn't really sleep, so basketball and soccer were very hard for me. I couldn't really play soccer, so I just sat there in practice and played goalie. I was kind of getting better toward basketball season, so I could play a little bit but I didn't contribute much because I was so weak and out of shape. It was hard.

Imani has been a contributing member of the Irish soccer team and helped Catholic win a pair of Class AA-A state championships.

Since her freshman season, her lanky build and shooting range have made her a tough matchup for opponents on the court as well.

But for a while a year ago, she said she was dealing internally with the possibility that she may never be her athletic self again.

"It was very hard being told I couldn't play soccer and possibly basketball, but my doctors and parents were very supportive, Imani said. "They always told me, You'll play again,' but I was always thinking, What if I never play again?' They helped me through it a lot.

At first, Imani was given medicine to help with her condition. Last January, it quit working. After that, Imani said she had to take a radioactive iodine pill to destroy her thyroid altogether. She said at that point, her condition finally began to improve for good.

The first sign that she was back came on the soccer field in the fall as the Irish made it all the way back to the championship game before falling to Winfield. …

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