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Senior Profile: Hansen deals with drama, some by choice
Each breath was a struggle as Ellen Hansen leaned against the wall of the Pierce High gym after a volleyball game in October.
Hansen, 17, was taken to the hospital where she was treated as if she was having a heart attack. Doctors ran a series of tests and determined it wasn't her heart — a fear for growing high school students because it's the age when some heart conditions appear, according to Hansen.
"Once they figured out it wasn't a heart condition it was kind of nice, but at the same time it was like, 'what is it?' I would play, but if I couldn't breathe I'd get out and just relax for a little bit," Hansen said.
The senior three-sport athlete was cleared to play but she still didn't know what caused the attack. Then it happened again at the start of basketball season.
"We were running pacers then and all of a sudden you can't breathe, you're pretty much choking," Hansen said.
This time, the doctors determined she has sports asthma and with the help of an inhaler, she could return to the court and turn her full attention back to doing what she loves.
Through the health scare, Hansen maintained her duties as the senior class president, an actress in school plays and a starter on the Bears' varsity girls volleyball, basketball and softball teams.
Hansen played middle and outside hitter for the Bears' volleyball team and is a captain on the basketball team, tallying 7.9 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game as a guard. In the spring, she is a starting outfielder for the softball team.
She acted in two plays on Dec. 13 and grew up with an interest in drama and theater, she said.
"I've always wanted to take some drama classes in college. I take drama here and I've taken acting school when I was a little kid and I loved it," Hansen said.
Though her school activities through sports, drama and various other responsibilities, she finds time to coach a sixth-grade basketball team and referees their games on weekends.
Hansen plans on studying sports management in college, but first, she will attend Santa Monica College where she will play volleyball - a goal she achieved with the help of Pierce volleyball coach Kim Travis, who started a club volleyball team.
"I definitely have to thank (Travis) for that because if we didn't have the club team I wouldn't be going to college (to play volleyball)," Hansen said.
Hansen is the type of athlete every coach wants. Not only is she a good athlete, she approaches the game with dedication and a willingness to attempt to get better, Travis explained.
"She is the type of player that always gives 100 percent, and by her giving 100 percent she makes her teammates better because she challenges them," Travis said.
CONTACT Kirk Barron at 458-2121 or firstname.lastname@example.org.