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Thaxter continues to fight for CdM

Junior, who has had a strong start to the season, is making progress in her battle against atypical migraine headaches.

September 08, 2012|By Matt Szabo
  • Corona del Mar High tennis player Lauren Thaxter is the Daily Pilot High School Athlete of the Week.
Corona del Mar High tennis player Lauren Thaxter is the… (SCOTT SMELTZER,…)

In tennis, as in life, there are many chances to get discouraged.

On the court, it hurts to hit an errant forehand that just misses long. It is frustrating to dump a volley into the net.

Then there are the moments in-between points, those times when a player is down a break of serve and self-doubt creeps in.

Lauren Thaxter is as competitive as any tennis player out there. But, at 16 years old, the Corona del Mar High junior also has the perspective that some spend a lifetime trying to find.

"It's just so different now," Thaxter said. "Now, for me, it feels like I'm already accomplishing something by being out there [on court]. Before, I would only feel accomplishment if I won. My sickness has definitely put my whole life in perspective, not just tennis. I would freak out if I got a 'B' or a 'C' on a test. Now, it's just like, that's not the big picture of life."

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The sickness, atypical migraine headaches, does not define her. The big picture is that Thaxter is a fighter in everything she does. She earns the Daily Pilot Athlete of the Week honor for her tennis skills. Playing at No. 1 singles for Coach Brian Ricker, she started 10-0 this year for CdM as the Sea Kings won their first four matches. Thaxter, who has a big backhand, swept against Newport Harbor in the Battle of the Bay.

The numbers are impressive, but not nearly as much as Thaxter's resolve. It has been a difficult 12 months for her since she was diagnosed with her headaches.

Plenty of people get migraines, but Thaxter's are dangerous. Hers tend to come with "auras," precursors to seizures that lead to her getting extremely tired. She can suddenly collapse and go into a comatose state for hours at a time. Her mother Jayne, who is a pediatrician, said Lauren's longest "mini-coma" last year lasted for 16 hours.

Sometimes the migraines come in the middle of a match and they're too much to stand. Sometimes they're more mild, and she fights through it. She consumes plenty of caffeine and carries a medication, Maxalt, but it doesn't always work.

Twice in the first week of the girls' tennis season, Thaxter had auras. In a match at Beverly Hills, she subbed herself out after the first set. In a match against Sage Hill, she had a more mild one and fought through it, rallying to win a hard-fought set against the Lightning's Liana Korber.

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