A Heartbeat Behind

Ashton O'Halloran

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Open heart surgery would tend to put a kink in most people’s athletic aspirations at a young age, but not Amber Davidson, a sophomore volleyball player at San Diego Mesa.
Davidson had the dangerous life saving surgery at age 3 due to a hole in her heart that would not heal on its own. She also had something called Partial Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Return, a failure in the aortic valves causing them to pump oxygenated blood to the wrong side of her heart and into the lungs.
Today however she leads our women’s volleyball team with her saved heart, as their setter and plans to continue playing after this season ends.
“First things first, I want to play volleyball as long as I can,” said Davidson.
The 20 year old Reno, Nev., native moved to San Diego Mesa after turning down an opportunity to play at the University of Nevada Reno, a Division I volleyball program.
“I was originally supposed to play volleyball for UNR but decided to take a year off and during my time off I missed volleyball way too much so I decided to transfer and knew I wanted to move to San Diego so then I did my research and found that Mesa was the best place for me,” Davidson said.
Despite the cross state move away from her parents, the drastic change in volleyball plans, the still existent heart murmur and the open heart surgery, Davidson stays strong.
She was named First Team All-Conference at the end of last year and led her team as their setter with 7.2 assists per game. So far this season she has helped her team to three early wins, beating Mt. San Jacinto College, Los Angles Pierce, and Long Beach City College.
Like many athletes Davidson uses her sport as an emotional outlet and a steady crutch, but her heart is persistent in reminding her of how much she loves this game.
“My life consists of many things, but I wouldn’t be who I am today without volleyball. It is a huge part of me and I can’t imagine my life without it. I have been through some rough patches in life but volleyball was always there to take my mind off of hard times,” said Davidson.
With her family still living in Reno, Davidson’s parents have to travel to watch their daughter play. Not having her parents near and her profound passion for the game has shaped a connection and a familiarity; the team and support staff has taken on the roll of her family.
So how to move on becomes the burning question, knowing the clock runs out after just two very short years of eligibility. Memories and legacies are all that linger.
“It’s the simple things in life that matter most and I want to be remembered by my simple contributions,” Davidson said.

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