Kelsey Blaylock, a senior golfer for Chico State, did not expect serious medical issues to be her primary stress after transferring from Sierra College in Rocklin, California in 2019. But she has spent nearly two years in agony and confusion when the causes of her severe stomach pain and discomfort went undiagnosed and untreated because COVID concerns took priority with her doctors and hospitals. She began having medical issues in January 2020 and visited several medical professionals. They scheduled various tests and exams, but her treatment was delayed due to COVID protocols. A colonoscopy scheduled for April 2020 was postponed until March 2021. She was eventually diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s Disease, had two colonoscopies, an endoscopy, an MRI, and numerous other tests. She has taken 25 pills a day, started infusion treatments, and changed her diet. She is convinced that without the pandemic, she would have gotten a proper diagnosis and regained her health more quickly. The misery, mystery, and delay all affected her mental health as well as her physical health. Doctors were amazed at Blaylock’s determination to continue golfing at the collegiate level. The native of Lincoln, California is a psychology major and plans to go to nursing school to become a pediatric oncology nurse.
“Yes, COVID had a huge impact on my mental and physical condition, but I am so lucky to have such an incredible support system to help get me through this,” Blaylock said. “My teammates and coach are always telling me how my strength inspires them. I have continued to work to be a student-athlete throughout this experience by staying mentally tough and fighting through the pain. The people that know me best know that I am as tough as nails and will never give up on something, no matter what I may be dealing with. When I’m out on the course for those five hours, the only thing I’m thinking about is giving 110 percent, no matter how I may be feeling.”