ANAHEIM (CBSLA.com) — A professional volleyball player who was told she’d never walk again is competing on Team USA.
Anaheim resident Cassidy Lichtman, 25, has an undiagnosed condition that could be related to nerve damage.
She endures pain every single day, and there’s no cure.
“It varies a little bit, but generally it’s the front of my lower left leg. This whole area in here,” Lichtman said. “It’s a pretty sharp pain. Just the worst case of shin splints you’ve ever had.”
Lichtman said when she was 9 years old, doctors said she wouldn’t be able to use her legs.
“I don’t know if I was in denial or just fighting against it, but I was like, ‘I’m not going to do that. I’m gonna walk again, and I’m gonna play sports. This is what I was meant to do and I’m gonna do it,’” she said.
CBS2’s Michele Gile reports that the things Lichtman is good at—jumping, running and lifting—cause her to hurt the most, but she works through the pain.
“The amazing thing to me about Cassidy is that you almost never hear her complain about it. We have no idea how much pain she’s going through because, honestly, she never really talks about it. That, to me, is incredible,” Team USA teammate Kristin Hildebrand said.
Volleyball legend and Olympic gold medalist Karch Kiraly, who coaches Team USA, will decide the players who will go onto the Olympics.
“[Lichtman] sure could. Anybody you see before us is a possible Olympic team member. The difficult thing is we only get to take 12. We have about 30 here who are working their tails off to try to be the best they can be,” he said.
Team USA takes on top-ranked Brazil Saturday at UC Irvine and Sunday at USC as part of the 2014 USA Volleyball Cup.
“You can do anything you want to do. I mean, I wasn’t tall enough or athletic enough. I was told I was never going to walk again and now I’m on the national team, and that’s insane,” Lichtman said.