Soccer Player Sidelined for the Third Time

As the women’s soccer team closes out the regular season, they will miss Alicia Wyman, a key member of the club. Wyman currently suffers from spinal headaches, a condition caused by a faulty spinal tap.

“I went in [to Tampa General Hospital] for tightness in my chest that was making me dizzy and making me pass out,” said Wyman. “We thought it was meningitis.”

In her junior year of high school, Wyman was diagnosed with viral meningitis, a less-deadly relative of bacterial meningitis. The only way to definitively diagnose the disease is through an epidural spinal tap, a painful procedure.

To perform the test, a doctor places a needle through the covering of the spinal cord, known as the dura. After the procedure, cerebral fluid that surrounds the spinal cord will leak out for a short time. If the fluid continues to leak, severe headaches will ensue.

Wyman had the spinal tap done on Monday and suffered from the headaches all week. On Friday, she had a procedure known as a blood patch in which her own blood is drawn and inserted into the hole left from the spinal tap. The blood clots and is expected to close the hole in the dura.

“It could take a day or up to two weeks to heal,” Wyman said.

Wyman played every minute of every game her freshman year, getting two shots and one shot-on-goal.

Her sophomore season started out promising, but six minutes into her first game, she suffered another injury.

“I went up for a header on a corner kick and a girl landed on my neck,” said Wyman, who was diagnosed with a pinched spinal cord and sat out the rest of the season.

After recovering from that serious injury, Wyman was set to take an increased role in her junior year. However, she tore her ACL and had surgery last summer.

Wyman was cleared to play this fall. She wore a knee brace. and she had logged 970 minutes in 11 starts when she checked herself into TGH with cranial pressure.

The team rallied around Wyman, putting her jersey up at home games.

“I have the best teammates,” said Wyman. “You can’t ask for better teammates. They remember you even when they have a job to do.”

Wyman considered going home to Houston, but decided to stay in Tampa after her parents visited.

She planned to go to the next home game against St. Leo. The game was after press time, but Wyman hoped to be cleared to play in the homecoming game against Barry.

“Sitting in the hospital there was no place I wanted to be but on the field,” she said. “I’m going to come to our game and just lay there on the bench and watch.”

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