Stroke does not deter Saint Joe's Avery Marz's goal to play basketball

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Overcoming health scare, a St. Joe's athlete shoots and scores (WPVI)

The hawk will never die.

That's the Saint Joe's motto and the same can be said about the drive of Avery Marz.

Her determination to one day play for the Hawks will never die, despite suffering a stroke just 17 months ago.

Avery recalls, "My life changed like that, in a matter of seconds. It's probably the hardest thing I'll ever have to go through in my life, especially at the age of 17 when it happened."

It happened just days before her freshman year. Marz was moving into the dorms when their number one high school recruit, a star guard from Wilson West Lawn High School in Reading, suffered a stroke caused by a blood clot.

"I immediately collapsed, whole left side of my face dropped, and I could only speak like out of my right side. I was like, 'Mom, what's going on?' She was like, 'You're having a stroke.'"

Temporarily paralyzed on her left side, Marz didn't know if she would ever walk again, let alone play basketball.

Now more than a year and a half after the incident, Marz is practicing again. But she still doesn't have full range of motion on her left side.

Saint. Joe's Women's Basketball Coach Cindy Griffin is impressed with her determination.

"For her to suffer this, breaks your heart because you know she has so much to give and if anybody can overcome this she's going to be the one to be able to do that," Griffin said.

The goal for Marz is to walk out onto the court at Hagan Arena and finally play in her first collegiate game at the start of next season.

And as you can imagine, she can envision what that day will feel like.

"I think it will be pretty surreal. Me and my mom always jokes about how she's going to cry," Marz said.

Her dream to play for the Hawks will never die.
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