Putting Himself on the Line – Senior Lars Lindquist Battles Back from Illness

  • Lindquist’s story of perseverance and his desire to come back is definitely reflective of his personality and willpower.

    It was the spring of 2015 and Missouri Southern senior football player Lars Lindquist was working out in the weight room when he felt light-headed and tried to sit up.

    When he got up, Lindquist blacked out. The next thing he remembers is waking up on the floor, covered in blood and soon being put into an ambulance.

    “I had been having issues with my lungs for a little while and I thought it might have been a cold or allergies, so I didn’t really pay too much attention to it,” he said. “It progressed to shortness of breath and I started having issues sprinting without being entirely out of breath and almost passing out then. That wasn’t me, I’m usually in much better shape than that.”

    What Lindquist was feeling would turn out to be a pulmonary embolism: a blood clot that usually starts out in the legs and travels to the lungs. Prompt treatment can greatly reduce the risk of death, but situations like this are very risky.

    Missouri Southern athletic trainer Amanda Wolf saw Lindquist come out of the weightroom and collapse. She immediately rushed to treat Lars and that prompt attention helped him on his road to recovery.

    “He was lying face down and wasn’t breathing normally,” Wolf said. “I rolled him over and began preparing to give him CPR, but once he rolled over, he began to breathe normally again.”

    Not only did Lindquist recover, he got himself back in playing shape.

    “Lars is very lucky to have had the opportunity to come back and play,” Wolf said. “He had to be very patient and put in a lot of work at the same time. For some, it would have been more than what they wanted to take on. It would have been easy to say, ‘I’m done with football.’ But Lars wanted to finish his college career on his own terms. He had a goal to come back and play football. And he did.”

    Lindquist, a native of New Mexico, had to watch all of 2015 from the bench.

    “It was really tough watching that season,” Lindquist said. “Those were my guys, the seniors that I came in with. Your natural instinct is to want to help and I felt I could have been a help. But we got through that and here I am.”

    When he returned to the field, he also had to adjust to a new position. Coach Denver Johnson saw potential for him on the offensive line rather the other side of the ball. During the 2016 season, he started in all 11 games for the Lions.

    “I had a lot of fun with this group of guys on the line,” Lindquist said. “Coach Bill Bleil is the best offensive line coach I’ve ever had and he definitely helped me out and refreshed me on my technique. He was very understanding and he just got me back and helped shake the rust off really fast.”

    Lindquist’s story of perseverance and his desire to come back is definitely reflective of his personality and willpower.

    “Lars wasn’t going to let this stop him from fulfilling his goal,” Wolf said. “So he listened to the doctors, listened to his body and did
    what he needed to come back and play.”

    A professional and technical writing major, Lindquist will graduate in May and hopes to become a sports journalist.

    “I like hearing the backgrounds of athletes,” he said. “There’s a lot of interesting stories and I like hearing champions speak. I would love to have the opportunity to help tell their stories.”

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