Rensmon Overcomes Life Obstacles to Play Softball for Jimmies

By Kelly Halverson

At the age of 17, Toree Rensmon was diagnosed with a heart defect.

She was lucky enough at the time that it did not prevent her from coming to the University of Jamestown to play softball for the Jimmies. However, in 2018 just before her sophomore season Toree began having intense chest pains and was sleeping for extended periods of time. These symptoms prompted a visit to the doctor and at the age of 20 she was diagnosed with two more heart defects.

This combination of defects results in a leaky mitral valve, an irregular heart beat, and an enlarged left ventricle which works at a very low level. At the time of this diagnosis her heart was only functioning at 33%. Since a healthy heart should never function below 55% her doctor delivered the news that she was no longer healthy enough to play softball.

Despite the severity of the diagnosis she responded by saying “Okay this is my life I’m going to learn and grow from this and keep moving forward working on getting healthy again.” And that is exactly what she did.

Toree gets an extra bullpen session in, to prepare for her return to the field. Photo: Kelly Halverson

Nearly a year after her diagnosis, Toree’s heart is now functioning at 42% and she has been cleared to return to softball. Since her heart is still below the healthy level she is limited to the pitching mound, but that doesn’t bother her.

When asked how she felt about returning Toree says “The goal was to always make it back to softball. I think I appreciate it more now. Like no one likes 6:00 am practice but I’m grateful I get to be there. It’s more fun now for me being able to do what I love again.”

Her health issues have given her a new outlook and appreciation for the sport, “That phone call of ‘you aren’t healthy enough to play anymore’ was really hard. I had been playing softball for so long and I wasn’t able to go out on my terms which was awful.”

Now, she gets a second chance to finish her journey with the Jimmie softball team on her own terms. As far as her outlook for the upcoming season.

“We have a really good team this year with a lot of talent,” Rensmon says. “I think we will have a good season for sure. I’m excited to be able to play with these girls again they have all become like family.”

Toree’s comeback season will begin on February 8th, in a double-header against Valley City State University at the Presentation College Dome in Aberdeen, South Dakota.

Toree Rensmon makes a comeback for her junior season after being sidelined her sophomore year due to a combination of heart defects. Photo: Kelly Halverson

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