How one YHS volleyball player has battled adversity to make an impact for her team

Schwarz has impressed new coach with determination, perseverance

Yukon junior outside hitter Megan Schwarz and her team open the regular season Aug. 8 at Westmoore. (Photo Provided)

By Blake Colston
Sports Writer

Each time Yukon volleyball player Megan Schwarz takes the court, she battles a silent enemy, but Schwarz is determined to win the fight.

She suffers from Dysautonomia, a dysfunction of the nerves that regulate non-voluntary body functions, such as heart rate, blood pressure, and sweating. Because of that, it can be difficult for Schwarz to maintain a steady body temperature and heart rate, especially during strenuous exercise.

Snycope, more commonly known as fainting, is a common side effect. It’s something that Schwarz and her younger sister Katie, a sophomore on the YHS team, have dealt with since grade school. Usually, Megan said, she can tell when an episode is about to begin, but not always in time to let her body regain its equilibrium before she faints.

“Those are pretty scary moments, because I don’t know what’s going on,” she said. “Luckily, I’ve never gotten hurt.”

It hampered Schwarz enough during her sophomore season that her varsity playing time was limited. In April, she got a fresh start when Yukon hired Carl Albert’s Hayden Robbins to be the Millerettes new head coach.

Schwarz was excited for a chance to prove herself to Robbins, but wasn’t sure how her new coach would react the first time she asked to take a break during a challenging part of practice.

It never became an issue. Schwarz was so engaged and energized in Yukon’s first workout, Robbins didn’t realize anything was wrong.

“You would never know. She’s very persistent. She doesn’t want to be out of anything, she always wants to be on the court,” Robbins explained. “Her determination and perseverance are there, and if people could start feeding off of her, it’s going to be good for us.”

It’s still not easy for Schwarz. She passed out on the floor once this week and was sick to her stomach another time, but with Robbins’ support, Schwarz’s game has taken a big step forward, despite some extra challenges. She’s been a relentless presence at the net and a constant voice of encouragement for teammates, vaulting into a potential starting role as an outside hitter.

“Coach Robbins is very encouraging. So, it’s easy to feel good about yourself,” Schwarz said. ”I am really thankful that she understood. It’s been really easy this year to become comfortable enough with the team and the coaches to sit out when I need to, but then get right back on the floor.”

Schwarz has been a big help to Robbins, too. She bought into her plan for the YHS program from the team’s first practice. In three years at Carl Albert, Robbins, an Oklahoma Baptist alum, led the Titans to three consecutive state tournaments, and helped CA’s team earn the school’s first win at state. Robbins believes Yukon’s program can achieve similar success, but there’s work to be done.

“I was blunt with them. I told them you’re good, but you’re not great,” the coach recalled.

Robbins wasn’t sure how that message would be received by her new team, she admitted. But it’s clear that Schwarz took the challenge to heart.

“(Megan) has been the ultimate leader. She’s been bought in since day one. Her growth as a person and a player has been insane. She’s earned her spot.”