STORM LAKE - It seems nothing can keep Kelli Taylor from playing basketball. Certainly not an appendectomy.
The Buena Vista sophomore guard wasn't feeling good just hours before her team was to play Colorado College in the first round of the Nebraska Wesleyan Tournament on Dec. 15. She went to lay down to see if it would pass. It didn't.
Taylor never likes to miss a game, so the pain in her side must have been too unbearable because she couldn't play in the game later that night.
Taylor, who is from Ponca, Neb., was rushed to a hospital where she would have appendectomy surgery right about the same time her teammates were tipping off against Colorado College.
"I don't like to miss games," Taylor said. "I never have in eight years of playing basketball. The pain was pretty bad. I tore my ACL in high school, but I didn't miss any games."
"When you have appendicitis, you're in a lot of pain," said Taylor's coach, Janet Berry. "It was unbearable and she couldn't stand it. The doctor's prepping her for surgery and she asked him if there was any way she could play tonight. It killed her not to play."
The appendectomy surgery experience gave Taylor a new perspective on her basketball career.
"It made me realize what the other girls do," she said. "They work just as hard in practice and don't get to play as much. I just kind of took that for granted. I was thankful that I do get to play and thankful for my teammates for pushing me. This whole thing was a good experience. I realized how much work my teammates put into it."
Having to sit and watch her teammates play and not being able to contribute in a basketball capacity was hard for Taylor to handle at first, but now the road to recovery is getting better.
"It was not very fun. It tested my competitive fires," she said. "It's a lot better. It's going good. At first, it was hard. I'm kind of working into it, but it's getting better."
Three weeks to the day when Taylor had her surgery she was back on the court handling the ball and setting up the offense. That in itself has even amazed Taylor.
"I didn't think I'd be playing this soon. They (doctors) told me not to play last Friday and Saturday. It felt a lot better and it wasn't bothering me, so I decided to give it a go."
"For being out three weeks she's done amazingly well," Berry said. "She was in great shape and she's a tough kid. It's pretty unusual to play three weeks later. We limited her minutes on Friday night and Saturday she played 24 minutes, but was sore."
"Traditionally, you'd be out for six weeks, and now it's about four weeks, but because she is in great condition she was able to come back quicker," Berry said.
No doctor, trainer or coach can deny Taylor because she possesses a strong will to win and a deep passion for the game.
"Kelli is a competitor," Berry said. "She's one of those people that has a burning desire to win and wants to do whatever she can to make that happen. Her teammates want her to have the ball and she wants to have the ball. That's always a good thing."