[Jeff Krage for Shaw Media]
Marconi opted for the latter, going through physical therapy and getting around on crutches. But five days before she planned to resume playing, things got worse.
“I think it was a Tuesday morning,” Marconi said. “I hopped out of bed and just fell to the floor. After not being able to move for an hour and trying to call for one of my siblings, I was rushed to my doctor.”
An MRI revealed a stress fracture on her left femur. After more rest, Marconi made the varsity soccer team that spring, but two days before the first game felt acute pain in both legs.
Another scan showed serious fractures in both legs. Over the next seven months, Marconi visited several hospitals, including the Mayo Clinic and University of Chicago Children’s Hospital, in a search for answers.
Despite a battery of tests, including bone density scans and blood draws, doctors could not find a cause, or a cure, for the fractures. A year-long special diet didn’t help.
Even so, Marconi stuck with soccer. She attended games in her wheelchair and her teammates, including her sister Francesca, would help lift her up onto the bus.
“That was definitely very rough,” Marconi said. “The first week I was so depressed. I saw friends going to dances and I couldn’t go out.
“But then I ‘m like, ‘This is what I have for the next six weeks, I just have to work with it, so I came to every practice and every game.
“The girls were so amazing. The seniors carried me and Dad built me ramps in the house to go down.”