Maddy Coady


My name is Maddy Coady, and I am a junior on the Women’s Rowing Team. I committed to row for Notre Dame in October 2015. In February 2016 a MRI showed that I had two spinal disc issues: a bulging disc at my L4/L5 level and a herniated disc at L5/S1 level. I arrived to campus in August 2016 barely able to sit in my 75-minute classes, let alone row. As a brand new freshman, being severely injured is a nightmare. I felt isolated from the rest of the team, and questioned whether this process was worthwhile everyday. During the summer of 2017, I was sure that I was seeing the light at the end of the tunnel: I was pain free for the first time in years. In my final days of summer, I ended up unable to walk due to excruciating pain in my foot. Once again, I returned to Notre Dame unable to row. Over the next few weeks, I was diagnosed with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. Basically, my brain was so accustomed to the nerves in my body signaling pain that once the pain in my back was gone, my brain malfunctioned and thought it was instead receiving intense pain signals from the nerves in my foot. This is an extremely rare diagnosis, and was really challenging for me to understand. Throughout my sophomore year, I was tested an incredible amount due to these seemingly endless injuries. I was physically rowing and competing for the first time in almost three years, but I found myself resenting the sport I once loved. In August 2018, I returned to campus healthy for the first time. This journey has truly shown me some of the highest and lowest moments of my life. Rowing is slowly becoming something I love and find confidence in again, and I am excited to be able to represent Notre Dame in the way I always envisioned: by going fast with my friends.

Bailey Cartwright