Teen gymnast overcomes two brain surgeries to compete in Canada Winter Games

Georgia LaForme

Among the thousands of athletes that have descended on Red Deer, Alberta, for the 2019 Canada Winter Games, you’d be hard pressed to find a more inspirational story than that of Maggie Carson.

As competition began this weekend, the young gymnast quickly became a focal point of the Games with her tale of strength and perseverance.

While competing in Vancouver back in December of 2016, Carson was rushed to a nearby hospital and diagnosed with a life-threatening brain tumour before she underwent emergency surgery.

The surgery was successful and Carson was able to get back to the gym and continue with her training. However, she began experiencing severe headaches in March of 2017. Shortly after that, doctors discovered that the tumour had returned.

Following a second brain surgery, Carson underwent chemotherapy treatment in Vancouver. The young gymnast faced a tough road to recovery, but she refused to quit training. While she did take time off following the surgeries and her chemo treatment, Carson actually managed to advance two levels in gymnastics throughout all of the hardships.

She trained 16 hours a week, taking Fridays and Saturdays off for treatment and rest, all in effort to reach her goal: to qualify for the Canada Games.

Less than two years after her second surgery, Maggie has not only qualified to compete at this year’s Games, she’s leading Team Northwest Territories after being named the team’s flag bearer.

Gymnastics coach John Tram said it was a very easy decision to nominate Carson for flag bearer.

“She shows tremendous courage and strength all of the time and motivates and inspires other athletes, coaches and community members around her more than she realizes,” Tram shared with My Yellowknife Now. “Everyone is really proud of Maggie, after all the challenges she has endured over the past two years as well as qualifying for the Canada Winter Games.”

As Carson shifts her focus from recovery to competition, the gymnast was happy to share a powerful message with any young athletes who may be battling similar hardships.

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