Ex-Gopher softball star Sara Groenewegen diagnosed with Legionnaires Disease

She pitched for the Gophers from 2014-2017.
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Former Golden Gophers softball star Sara Groenewegen is recovering after being diagnosed with Legionnaires Disease. 

The shocking announcement from the 23 year old came via Twitter on Thursday, with Groenewegen posting a note about her medical emergency striking out of nowhere while she was pitching for Team Canada during the Canada Cup in July. 

Groenewegen said she broke out with a fever and experienced really bad back pain, prompting her to visit an emergency room. It turned out to be a potentially life-saving decision as doctors quickly placed her in a medically-induced coma for about 10 days while her lungs recovered from the disease. 

"I know I scared a lot of people as it was so sudden and so serious so quickly," she wrote. "But I just wanted everyone to know that I am fighting for a speedy recovery. I'm taking it day by day with my physiotherapy. I was congratulated for standing for 10 seconds on my own the other day and that's when it really hit me. Life can be so humbling." 

According to Mayo Clinic, Legionnaires Disease is a "severe form of pneumonia — lung inflammation usually caused by infection." It can create life-threatening complications from respiratory failure, septic shock and kidney failure. 

Prompt treatment can cure the disease but some people experience problems long term, Mayo Clinic notes. 

Groenwegen dominated for four years with the Gophers (2014-2017), finishing with a career record of 107-21 and a microscopic 1.58 ERA. She pitched 82 complete games, had 13 shutouts and struck out 1,214 batters in 797 innings. 

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