There was never a doubt in Mary Kate Pryor's mind that she'd be back for her team's first day of practice.
"I lifted for the first time today and I could tell how much muscle I truly lost," she said.
Pryor is back from a place she never wants to go again.
"I was looking forward to sophomore year, then it all just went crazy."
It all started just four months ago, on September 17th.
"I was laying down, turned my head and all of sudden, it hit me, this thunderclap. Worst headache of my life," Pryor said. "I lost vision, I couldn't see. My perception was completely gone."
She was rushed to Gundersen, then air-lifted to Mayo in Rochester, where she underwent emergency surgery. Mary Kate had two brain aneurysms.
"I just remember them saying multiple times that they had to warn me that this was very serious and that I could die."
She was able to pull through one trauma, only to face another. Two weeks later, on the morning she was supposed to leave the hospital, Mary Kate had emergency surgery again- this time, to repair a perforated bowel.
"That could have killed me just as much as the brain aneurysm could have killed me.
"That kind of sent me over the edge. That's when I kind of went downhill and was like, what more is going to happen?"
But Mary Kate is a competitor at heart. Three months later, she was healthy enough to take part in the Eagles' first practice of the season.
"It certainly put a lot of things into perspective for us," said UW-L Head Softball Coach Chris Helixon.
"It was definitely an eye opener and made me realize all these things that we all take for granted," Pryor said.
"I'm anticipating this season to mean even more to me, just because of how quickly it could have been taken away."
The Eagles open the season Feb. 28 in Minneapolis against Augsburg College.