LUFKIN -- Two months ago Deja Shepherd was playing basketball. According to head coach Harold Scroggins, the Lufkin point guard lived and breathed the sport.
"She was our floor leader the kids kind of fed off her she loved to be in the gym, loved to work, and she kind of stayed on the kids. She's one of those players that everybody followed, having her spirit around was big."
Then the day after Christmas, Shepherd's life changed.
"I had a real bad headache, and I called my mom to come get me and we called her again. My brother did, and I just started crying. Then after that I don't remember what happened."
Shepherd was taken to the hospital, and after a few rounds of tests, it was determined she had bleeding in her brain.
"Well as a parent you know your obligation to the kid is to protect them, provide for them, and at this point seeing your child laying lifeless and you can't do nothing, it's painful," says Shepherd's father Lawrence Chatman.
She was then flown to Houston where she was diagnosed with Arteriovenous Malformation. Which is an abnormal entanglement of arteries, blood vessels, and veins. After being diagnosed, Shepherd was then transferred to another hospital for emergency surgery.
"So we get her there and her mother told them that there was something wrong with her, like she hasn't been like this she was just sleeping a lot she wasn't herself, and so they did another CT scan on her and realized that the swelling has started," explains Chatman. "So they rushed her into immediate surgery, and put a drain in her head, then drained her brain for a couple of days."
"I was kind of scared at first and then I just started praying, and I just knew everything was going to be alright," says Shepherd.
"To make a decision like this this is a decision that can affect her life forever and so that's pressure," states Chatman. "So I have to sit down and get all the facts and pray, and do what I feel is right for her not for me but for her and recover and go on as a young woman one day."
The ordeal didn't just have an impact on her family the news also spread to her basketball team.
"Deja Shepherd is a special person and you know anybody that can fight through this and come back through the other side it's her," says Scroggins.
AVM can go undetected, and this was a wake-up call for coach Scroggins. Now he knows how to recognize the warning signs.
"We never thought of anything like that, which makes it even more scary and it was scary. Honestly if my kids start talking about or have headaches it's something I'm going to think about, and try to go get them checked out and make sure everything is ok."
Shortly after surgery Shepherd was released and her life went back to normal surprisingly fast.
"The very next day after surgery I'm out feeding the horses, I'm out in the field and I heard a basketball bouncing boom, boom, and I look up and it's her shooting a basketball," says Chatman.
"I'm just a positive person I'm going to let nothing get down on me, I just like taking challenges and get them done," states Shepherd.
During her recovery, Shepherd has received messages of support, from her teammates online.
"It was exciting I've never had that many likes, I just have a whole bunch of love," says Shepherd.
Shepherd, is ready to to get back to the sport she loves, and she has a message for anyone dealing with a difficult situation like hers.
"Just stay positive keep doing what I did before this happened, if you don't you won't do anything in life you'll just be a negative person I just want to stay positive," explains Shepherd.
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