POPLAR BLUFF, MO (KFVS) - A Poplar Bluff teen is back on the court after undergoing open heart surgery just a short time ago.
Savannah Hicks, a freshman, found out she had heart murmur during an annual medical exam before the school year.
"I got the physical and they heard the murmur and we just went to the doctor," Hicks said.
"They diagnosed it as ASD which a hole in the upper chamber of the heart," Savannah's dad Steve Hicks said.
Doctors found Hicks had atrial septal defect meaning a portion of her heart hadn't closed properly and it wasn't functioning as efficiently as it could.
"We were shocked I guess," Steve said.
"We were all shocked I guess because she sports and traveling sports all her life," Savannah's mom Dawn Hicks said.
The remedy? Having open heart surgery.
But the lifelong athlete couldn't stand the thought of missing a season. So with her doctor's and parent's 'ok' Hicks had other plans.
"I wanted to play softball before the surgery because that's my favorite sport," she said.
So on November 22, after softball and over Thanksgiving Break, Hicks went under the knife.
But she didn't say down long.
In just a short six weeks after having open heart surgery, Savannah was back on the court doing what she loves.
"Savannah's just always a happy positive person," teammate Shebly Sievers said. "When she came back it really brought our spirits up."
"She's dedicated to basketball. It means a lot [that she came back] because whenever we're down she's there to make sure we get back up," teammate Doni Everts added.
Back with her team, Hicks is ready to lead the lady mules once again.
"She's just a special person, Savannah didn't miss a beat," Lady Mules head coach John David Pattillo. "It's been a neat experience for us to see her courage and just what a good kid she is."
"I just wanted to get back out here," Savannah said. "I just try to be an inspiration to others."
And she has a message for any young athletes facing difficult situations.
"Don't worry you can do it."
Hicks says the experience taught her she can overcome any obstacles and she hopes to pass that message down to others.