Wildcats' Key battles back from adversity to all-star
EXCEPTIONAL ATHLETE Lindsey Key and her mother Donna Key both worked hard to get Lindsey back to full speed on the soccer field. Photo by Jeff Byrd/ The Meridian Star
By Jeff Byrd / staff writer
July 12, 2002
On Saturday, Lindsey Key will run out on the Renfroe Stadium turf at Hinds Community College wearing the uniform of the North All-Star girls soccer team.
The fact that she will be able to run onto the field is accomplishment in its self, not to mention as a Mississippi High School All-Star. Just consider where she was just two years ago.
Back in July of 2000, Key was in a halo neck harness following a second operation to stabilize her neck. Doctors had discovered a rare birth defect which effected her first and second vertebrae and the cervical column after she was hurt when a jet ski flipped.
Immediate surgery was necessary because another blow to her head would leave her either dead or paralyzed from the neck down.
The operation was a success after the surgeons took a bone from her hip and inserted it into the damaged area. She spent three months in the halo.
Still, even as she recovered, doctors told her mother, Donna Key, that soccer was pretty much out of the picture.
Donna Key's training as a nurse for Jeff Anderson Regional Hospital came in handy during Lindsey's recovery. But it also added to her anxieties.
No more recitals for Lindsey
Donna Key had wanted her daughter to perform in dance recitals.
Lindsey wanted to do something else.
Lindsey's soccer career began at the age of 12, a relatively late age for most girls who progress on to higher levels. But Lindsey was able to find a niche playing defense.
In eighth grade, she tried out for the Meridian High School team. Not only did she make the team, she was starting by the second half of the season.
Key plays fullback, a defensive position which requires her to mark the opposing team's forwards when they attack her team's goal.
During her freshman season, Key helped Meridian High to the South State 5A Championship in the 1998-99 season.
A trip to the lake
Then in June of 2000, Lindsey went with her church group to Dalewood Lake.
When she was x-rayed, that was when the doctors made the discovery of her neck condition.
Just a week after her surgery, Lindsey had another mishap when she tripped while her church group visited her. She had to have a second surgery.
Lindsey missed all of her junior season. Her team, meanwhile, had another strong season, again winning the South State 5A title.
By the next fall, Lindsey, had recovered enough strength to gain clearance to play her senior year.
Her return, though, was rough on Donna Key.
A future MCC Lady Eagle
Lindsey Key had always wanted to play college soccer. She was a regular at the MCC soccer camp since she started playing at 12.
Talk about great timing. MCC finally announced the start up of a womens' team during Lindsey's senior year. Former West Lauderdale head soccer coach Alex George took charge of the MCC soccer program when Clements left for a position in Texas.
Key was one of the first players he signed.
For Key, it was another amazing accomplishment.