SARA  GROENEWEGEN

Get to know Sara outside

of the softball foul lines.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sara Groenewegen is currently living in British Columbia preparing for the Olympic games. In June of 2018, she decided to move back home from her position with the University of Oklahoma with a view to focus on her strength training and softball skills in pursuit and preparations of the 2020 Olympic qualifiers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With an eye to regaining full strength and energy after an incapacitating health scare in the summer of 2018, Sara successfully made a comeback in the 2019 season - she appeared to come back stronger than ever.

 

Groenewegen was only given a 3% chance to live after being placed in a medically induced coma as her body could not oxygenate blood as her lungs were too infected. Since then, Sara has a new appreciation for the word conquer: to overcome and/or take control. Groenewegen conquered her adversities in 2018 and came back in full force in 2019. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Groenewegen and her team qualified for the 2020 Olympic Games on September 1. Right now, she is looking at ways to build relationships with her local communities and take in everything she can before she leaves for centralization in the new year.

 

Since qualifying for the Olympics, Groenewegen hopes continue to embody a role that supports a continuum of personal development along with building on the foundation she already has with the rest of the members of Team Canada. 

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Additionally, Groenewegen battles a disease on the daily; she has since she was nine years old. Groenewegen is type 1 diabetic and continues to persevere through adversity every day. Managing diabetes is not easy, and Sara continues to be humbled by the disease, but she does not let it conquer her. She hopes to continue to be a role model to up and coming athletes. Groenewegen wants to show those young athletes that live type 1 diabetes can play sport at the highest level, no matter their circumstance.

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What is your favourite part about playing for Team Canada?

"This is definitely a really hard question to answer as there are so many reasons to love playing for Canada. One of my favourites being - there are only 15-20 women in the entire country who get to put the uniform on. It is an extreme honour and privledge. With that comes a great responsibility to represent the country well" - SG

Did you play any other sports growing up?

"Growing up I played pretty much anything that was competitive. I played soccer, volleyball, tennis, basketball, competed in track and field, swam, and played softball. I actually swam competitively until 5th grade, but ended up having to choose between softball and swimming as they were both summer sports and more time was being demanded by both sports, obviously I chose softball! I always loved competing, and sports gave me an outlet to compete and stay active as a kid. I am very grateful to have played so many sports growing up because I believe you learn things in certain sports that you don’t get the chance to in others" - SG

What have been some challenges you have faced throughout your athletic career?

"I think I have faced my fair share of adversities, but I have grown immensely from each and every one. To start, I am type 1 diabetic. I was diagnosed when I was 9, so I can’t remember a life without it – it is my norm. Managing diabetes is hard enough, but then throw in being an athlete.. it's quite the balancing act. I also tore my MCL (left knee) right before I went back to school for my senior year. I used that time off the field to renew my leadership skills, and to find ways to become a better teammate. In times like that you can either feel really sorry for yourself, or you can find a way to get better no matter the circumstance. My most recent adversity I have faced was when I became very ill in July 2018. I had flu like symptoms and my back started to really hurt. I went to the emergency room and ultimately woke up a couple weeks later not remembering anything that had happened. Turns out I had been diagnosed with Legionnaires disease (a severe form of pneumonia). My lungs ultimately couldn’t oxygenate my blood because they were so infected, so a machine had to do it for me. It took me almost a month to get back to walking at a normal rate. I was not going to let anything get in my way of getting back onto the softball field. Fast forward to now - I couldn’t be more grateful for my health today, and the perspective I gained throughout that entire journey" - SG

What are you passionate about outside of softball?

"I am very passionate about the environment, coffee, and dedicating time for myself when it comes to self-care. For example, I love to intentionally wind down by either lighting a candle or turning on my diffuser and then write in my journal - I am trying to journal more as I feel like it is healthy for the mind! I am also trying to limit my single-use plastic, and I continue to encourage and challenge my friends and families to do so. It is something completely in our control and can sometimes be a simple choice. I also really enjoy listening to music and curating playlists" - SG

Sara's Favourite Recipes

Chicken Lettuce Wraps

"One of my favorite recipes! Feel free to substitute the ground chicken for ground turkey, sliced chicken breast, tofu, whatever you want! I promise you it will still taste delicious" -SG

*Credit to Damn Delicious