Hitting The Volleyball Court

Edie Welch (#16) , Flagler Volleyball Player. Photo courtesy of Edie Welch

By Gabby Alfveby

There are about 29,000 female college volleyball players in all three divisions in the country. Out of all those volleyball players Edie Welch, a sophomore volleyball player at Flagler College stands out.

Welch overcame the biggest setback of her life this past Fall season.

Welch wears No. 16 and plays the libero position for the Flagler Saints. Welch has been playing volleyball since she was young.

“I’ve been planning since I was about probably six. So, about 14 years,” Welch said.

Welch was influenced to play volleyball because of her mother.

“I definitely started because of my mom. My mom was a volleyball player in high school, and she loved to play it with me. One of the first presents I got as a kid was a volleyball when I was four or five,” Welch said. “She loved teaching me how to do it [play volleyball].” 

Welch discovered Flagler and then decided to attend Flagler’s volleyball camp.

committed to Flagler after receiving offers and exploring other schools.

“I’m from Texas and I actually literally looked up top ten prettiest schools in the country and Flagler came up and I went to their camp, their volleyball camp because I wanted to play volleyball in college ever since I was little so that was just like an end goal of mine.”

Welch committed to Flagler after receiving offers and exploring other schools.

“I definitely didn’t want to go to D1 because between academics and sports and social life D1 schools are horrible for your mental health. So, I ended up coming to camp and our previous coach really liked me and he made me an offer. I rejected it and then I started looking at a D1 school,” Welch said. Then six months later, the February before COVID, I actually ended up getting another email from him, and then I was like, all right fair I’ll go.”

Welch was hit with reality during the past season in the Fall.

“I’ve never had a physical injury before until this past fall season and I passed out on the court from acute kidney failure. I was just severely, severely, dehydrated and I had really low potassium and nutrition levels,” Welch said. “But I had to go to the hospital for about three days.”

Welch went to Flagler Hospital.

Welch was discharged from Flagler Hospital and told she could go back to playing volleyball. She found out a couple of days later she found out that she had acute kidney failure.

Symptoms progressed for Welch which affected her performance on the court.

“Then I started playing again almost two, maybe a day or two out of the hospital and I started getting really dizzy every time I would exert any sort of energy, and then I started literally going blind. I couldn’t see,” Welch said.

They were able to get the right medical attention after this occurred.

“I ended up going to a regular physician and she was like ‘they definitely should have told you to rest and rehydrate and rest your body and rehydrate for about two to three weeks after. So, I had to stay out another two weeks, but I missed probably, I would say six games of the season. That’s probably half of our games,” Welch said.

Welch experienced serious medical symptoms which were caused by her kidney failure.

“I was like it wasn’t that big of a deal really because I just passed out and then I would just get dizzy, and I would basically feel lightheaded. You know when you stand up too fast constantly and [I was] super exhausted, Welch said. “I went to the physician and she’s like ‘oh you could have died’ and I was like ‘oh perfect’.”

Welch was able to overcome this obstacle and get back to dominating on the volleyball court. 

“I got player of the week last fall. I broke my personal record of 30 digs in one game when we were playing USC Aiken, Welch said. “It was actually my first game back from my kidney failure, but I won Academy bus player of the week and then our PBC player of the week.”

Welch was able to accomplish these things with the motivation of her teammates. Welch will continue to play volleyball because of her love for the sport.

“I continue to play because of the friends that I make playing volleyball. I love the camaraderie and the teamwork and the lessons that I learned with people that I play with,” Welch said. “Those defining moments are just amazing. Those are some of my favorite moments of my entire life.”

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