CMU Player Battles Disease in Order to Play
FAYETTE, MO -- The Central Methodist women's basketball team is enjoying an 18-5 season with Coach James Arnold. One of Arnold's players is enjoying the ride despite having to fight disease in order to stay on the court.
Britney Joseph is a Houston, Texas native who has played college basketball at Tyler Junior College, St. Gregory's and now CMU.
But bouncing to different schools isn't the only obstacle she's had to battle in her college career.
Joseph is a 6-foot junior who can play inside or outside on offense, but she prefers defense.
"BJ likes contact. She's very physical. One of the reasons we targeted her out of Tyler Junior College is how physical she was. She's a rebounding machine. She's in the top 10 in the country for us doing that," Arnold said.
"I get to beat up on people on defense. Not so much on offense," Joseph said.
Her path to success at CMU has included plenty of bumps including a knee injury her high school senior season.
"I had to have surgery and ACL surgery is outpatient," Joseph said. "Well, I was back in the hospital because I kept bleeding. In 2010 they diagnosed me having a blood disorder, similar to hemopheliacs, it's called Von Willebrand, so my blood doesn't clot."
The blood disorder causes Joseph to tke much longer to recover from injuries, and plenty of other side effects.
"A few weeks into preseason conditioning we noticed there were days her energy level was really low," Arnold said.
"I never know when it's going to happen. Sometimes I can be feeling good for 3 days and then I'll just crash," Joseph added.
She says the key to living with the problem is communicating to the coaches when she's having issues.
"Selfishly I worry about it a lot because she's really good. Selfishly if there's a nick or a bruise or a bloody nose that would happen to anybody, there goes our best defender out of the game," Arnold said.
"Depending on how I get hit, like if I have a nose bleed in a game I will out of the game for the rest of the game because it will continue to bleed," Joseph said.
To deal with the clotting deficiency, Joseph takes medicine and needs extensive treatments.
"I have to go to one of the cancer treatment places because that's where they have the medicine at. They put an IV in my arm and I have to go through a 30 minute treatment, but I have to do it for a week straight," Joseph said.
It's a small price to pay to continue to play the game she loves.
"Certainly BJ, not only in what she's overcome, but how hard she plays everyday makes everybody play harder. She's a uniter," Arnold said.
Joseph says when she is having problems with the disease her teammates try to feed her. She says it doesn't help with the blood disorder, but she likes the free food.
Britney Joseph is averaging more than 9 points and 9 rebounds per game this season.