Kickapoo senior fought rare medical condition to make basketball team

VIOLA, Wis. (WKBT)– It takes a lot for some to get over stage fright, but others are willing to try just about anything.

“I may not be able to sing well but it’s fun to do,” said senior Heather Aardahl.

You’ll see Aardahl’s face everywhere at Kickapoo.

“She’s in choir and she’s into drama, and she’s good in all the musicals we have,” said her coach Eric Wiegel.

Including basketball, a game she’s been playing since she was a kid.

“She loves the game,” said Wiegel.

But she had to get over more than stage fright to keep playing.

“I have Spondylocarpotarsal Syndrome, it causes a bunch of things wrong physically,: said Aardahl.

Around the age of 12, she started to seriously feel the effects of the rare spinal syndrome.

“For track when we run sometimes, I can’t breathe and I’ll be sitting there, holding my breath and I didn’t think I’d be able to survive a game of basketball.”

“She couldn’t get the ball to the basket. The 10 foot basket was just an impossibility,” recalled Wiegel.

So she stopped.

“It was difficult for her,” added her coach.

“I felt like I wasn’t going to be able to make anything. Or that I wouldn’t catch up with my team. But I tried anyways, and I’m decent.”

After years in the crowd, Heather’s senior year was spent back on the court.

“I wanted to do something other than sit around.”

She wont tell you that she’s the best player on the team, but she has her moments.

And its those moments that have taught heather something more important than winning or losing.

“Basketball has taught me confidence, and to ignore the people who think you can’t do anything, and just try your best.”

So whether it’s singing or shooting, nothing will hold heather back.

“That’s basically how I am. I don’t give up on anything I do. I try my best.”