Softball player needed surgery, but first she wanted a championship

UCLA senior sets priorities

By Allen Kim, CNN
Copyright 2019 CNN

Stevie Wisz, right, celebrates a home run with teammate Brianna Tautalafua on June 4.

LOS ANGELES - Not many people would postpone lifesaving heart surgery.

But Stevie Wisz did just that in order to fulfill a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity: winning a college softball national championship.

Wisz was diagnosed as an infant with aortic stenosis, a heart condition that causes the narrowing of the aortic valve and restricts blood flow from the left ventricle to the aorta. She underwent open-heart surgeries at the ages of 9 and 15. In January, she was told that she required a third.

However, Wisz had her sights set on bigger things.

A senior at the University of California, Los Angeles, Wisz was determined to finish her final year and earn her degree in biology. She also wanted to help the Bruins win their 12th NCAA softball championship.

On June 4, Wisz fulfilled her goals, helping the team win its first title since 2010; UCLA defeated Oklahoma 5-4 on a walk-off single. And a little more than a week after that, she walked across the stage and received her bachelor's degree.

Then came the tough part.

On Friday, Wisz underwent open-heart surgery. Her pulmonary valve was transplanted to her aorta, and a cadaver valve was inserted into the pulmonary valve.

Wisz will be hospitalized for a few days, and she is expected to make a full recovery.

Wisz recently shared an update on Instagram: "cheers to a successful surgery, progressive recovery, & to all of the love you all have been giving me. Just a little update: everything went completely well! Currently feel like I've been ran over by a bus because of the incision but other than the pain, recovery is going great! Doctors said I should be going home in 1-3 days depending on how these next few days go so prayers please Love you all soooooo much We did the damn thing!!! The road to recovery begins now! P.S. I miss my friends :((("

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