Former New Mexico kicker Katie Hnida, the first woman to play NCAA Division I college football, had been gravely ill for weeks before returning home from the hospital on Thursday, her family said in a statement released by the school.
Hnida suffered multiple organ failures after an adverse reaction to a prescribed medication, according to a GoFundMe page that her family launched trying to raise funds to cover medical expenses. Her family described the reaction as "life-threatening." By Thursday evening, nearly $28,000 had been raised for the $20,000 goal.
"Katie is out of the hospital, making slow but steady progress as she rests and rehabilitates," her family said in a statement. "As expected, some days are better than others. She is being cared for by an excellent team of specialists. …They caution, however, that her recovery will be measured in months, not days. … She undergoes another battery of testing next week."
Hnida was admitted to an ICU and given emergency dialysis after her kidneys and liver failed and her bone marrow quit functioning, which led to extensive bleeding. Doctors considered a liver transplant, her family reported.
"I think everyone is still trying to wrap their arms around what happened because it happened very quickly," her father, Dave, told Sports Illustrated.
Hnida, 37, played three seasons at New Mexico and made history in 2003 when she converted two extra points in the Lobos' win against Texas-San Marcos. That made her the first female college football player at the time.
Hnida transferred to New Mexico from Colorado and later claimed she was raped by a former Buffaloes teammate. She never pressed charges.
In her adult life, she became an author and spokeswoman for victims of sexual assault and domestic violence.
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