Lauren Holiday, expecting a baby in October, will undergo brain surgery after giving birth, NOLA.com reports.
Her husband, Jrue Holiday, a guard for the New Orleans Pelicans, will miss the start of the NBA season to be with his wife and infant daughter.
Lauren, who turns 29 on Sept. 30, retired from the U.S. women’s team after it won the 2015 World Cup. She was at the peak of her career, but walked away from the game to spend more time with her husband and raise a family.
Lauren and Jrue met at UCLA, where they were both star athletes. Both are devout Christians.
If there is any good news in this story, it’s this:
The tumor on the right side of her brain is ‘operable and not a threat to the Holidays’ unborn daughter,’ according to NOLA.com. And Lauren Holiday’s doctors say they are confident that after surgery, she will ‘return to full health.’
I met Holiday last October, a few months after the World Cup and days after her club team, FC Kansas City, won its second consecutive NWSL championship. She was making an appearance with kids in Plano, Texas, for a sponsor, Smoothie King.
Both in her interactions with the kids and in my interview with her, she was as warm and friendly and engaging as she possibly could have been.
This is not her first medical crisis.
When she was 3, she needed open-heart surgery to repair a congenital defect.
‘Afterwards,’ she told me in Plano. ‘the doctors told my parents to get me involved in activities, that I needed to have a strong heart. They threw me into every sport, and soccer was what I fell in love with.’
In the closing minutes of last year’s NWSL championship game, she alarmed the crowd and her teammates when she fell to her knees untouched, then lay on the turf for more than a minute while a stretcher was brought out.
She later attributed the episode to the arrhythmia, or irregular heartbeat, that she’s had since childhood. She said everything was fine — she just needed to relax for a moment until her heart settled down. She was able to finish the game.
If you’re the prayerful sort, pray for her.