Harlem Athlete Overcomes Brain Surgery

Rockford- Harlem discus thrower Audi Nichol did not expect to be competing this season, let alone headed to State.

“I had brain surgery a little over two months ago so we weren’t even sure if I would even be able to throw again,” says Nichol, a senior at Harlem High School.

Nichol was diagnosed with chiari malformation, a rare brain condition that causes brain tissue to extend into the spinal canal. The only option was to remove part of Nichol’s brain.

“First half of the year we were talking what will it take to do well at state, to win state. Then it’s I don’t know if I’m going to be able to throw. It was tough to hear,” says Head Coach Nate Dodson.

But Nichol was determined to overcome her injury.

“While everyone else was training, she was trying to get her muscles stronger,” says Dodson.

“I didn’t want my injury to be an excuse for not doing well at discus. I wanted to do my best, not my best with having had brain surgery,” says Nichol.

Nichol competed at sectionals last week and threw 124.02 inches to qualify for the state tournament.

“We weren’t sure if she was going to come back full strength and she did,” says Sheila Nichol, Audi’s mom.

How happy are you to be heading to the State tournament this weekend?
“On a scale of 1-10, I’d say 150,” says Nichol.

The IHSA girls’ track and field state tournament begins Friday at Eastern Illinois University.

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