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Evergreen’s Ally Zimmerman overcame epilepsy and continues playing the sports she loves

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(WAOW) -- Everyone has their definition of normal.. for the majority of her life, Ally's normal has been anything but. A medical condition has kept her on the sidelines, but now she's in scoring position.

A silent struggle she carried through her childhood, "she would seize who knows how many times in the night and get no sleep, so it affected her during the day but nobody ever saw those," said Ally's mother Stacey Hoops.

Ally was diagnosed with epilepsy at age five. Since tee-ball all she's wanted to do was play, but seizures kept her striking out.

"It was the worst, i'd wake up in the morning, have one and then just be tuckered out the entire day," said Zimmerman.

Softball, the activity that forced the most challenge, gave her a reason to keep going.

"it's a distraction for me, I was used to being bedridden and I would be with my friends, i'd just be so tired or i'd have personal stuff going on, and so it was just a distraction, and also for an outlook it was a positive outlook," Zimmerman said.

Through 10 years ally endured over 30 procedures to put her on track for a long overdue normal life. In her sophomore year her doctors decided to take a chance at ending her epilepsy for good, removing a portion of her brain, the size of a half of stick of butter.

Zimmerman said, "they took out that piece and then glued me back together and I was fine after that."

The risk paid off. They were able to remove the portion of her brain without affecting any of her life function, allowing her to play the sport that she loves.

"I love it. I was scared before my surgery that it was going to be the same thing like be in the dugout and feel an aura coming and have to move away but now I can't even think of the thought of that anymore, i'm just screaming with my teammates and having fun on the field."

But the physical reminders remain, "I can sometimes still feel the scar, and these ones you can kind of see.. but I like seeing them and i like feeling them because it reminds me that i've had this opportunity, and i just think its nice to remember that and appreciate it at times."

Her family feeling like their kid, can be a kid, "it's become, I know this sounds very cliche' but very normal.. our lives are just normal. Every day is the same and we're okay with that," said Hoops.

Zimmerman said, "I did like the journey more than the final because I think it made me the person I am."

Her story is no perfect game, but she likes it that way, "everyone have their different abnormalities but its just cool to have a significant story just like everyone else does, but mine i'm pretty proud of."

This chapter of her story is almost at a close. Ally will play her final game as an evergreen in June, after that -- graduation and then she's off to college at University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.

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Addison Van Patten

Sports Reporter

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