UMD conditioning coach 'out of the penalty box' after successful liver transplant


The strength and conditioning coach and equipment manager for the University of Minnesota Duluth's women's hockey team had a successful liver transplant at the Mayo Clinic Saturday afternoon.

Julianne “Montana” Vasichek, 32, was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in 2002 and primary sclerosing cholangitis — an incurable disorder that affects the bile ducts in the liver — in 2007.

Last week her condition worsened and she was admitted to a Duluth hospital before eventually being airlifted to Rochester Thursday, where her condition was listed as critical.

In a post on her CaringBridge page, Vasichek's family says she's "out of the penalty box" and the transplant, which took several hours, went "as good as could be expected, and Julianne has a beautiful new liver that is already producing bile."

Vasichek isn't out of the woods yet. She is at greater risk for post-surgery infection – instead of a 5 percent chance, hers is more like 15-20 percent due to the nature of her surgeries, her family wrote.

She is still unconscious and her family says it may take up to a week for her to come back to consciousness after being sedated for so long.

In the post, her family also thanked everyone for the outpouring of love and support.

Vasichek, a native of Great Falls, Montana, won three national championships while playing for UMD from 2001-2005 and was a two-time All-American. While skating for the Bulldogs, she wore No. 49. The UMD women’s hockey team wore "49" stickers on their helmets in her honor in their weekend homestand against Bemidji State.

UMD's best-of-three series against Bemidji wraps up Sunday afternoon. The winner will go on to the WCHA Final Faceoff next weekend, the Duluth News Tribune reports.

Next Up

White tail deer

DNR: Passenger shot at deer out of driver's side window

The DNR said 'all sense of safety was disregarded.'

Screen Shot 2019-07-18 at 9.10.30 AM

Mpls council proposal would cut nearly $8M from 2021 police budget

The "Safety for All Budget Plan" was introduced Friday.

Shayne Munich

Minneapolis police appeal for help finding missing man

Shayne Munich is described as a vulnerable adult.

Screen Shot 2020-11-27 at 6.26.50 PM

Minnesota nurse's story about her battle with COVID-19 goes viral

A month later, Ashley Walter is on a hard road to recovery.

Adam Thielen

Report: Still on COVID-19 list, Thielen not expected to play Sunday

Thielen was placed on the COVID-19/Reserve list on Monday.

Image from iOS (19)

Mask-wearing, distancing a common sight on MOA's Black Friday

Thousands of shoppers were out and about on Black Friday despite the COVID-19 situation.

Tim Walz

Gov. Tim Walz, MDH react to record-setting COVID-19 deaths

Minnesota can expect further bad news over the coming weeks.

covid-19, coronavirus

Record 101 COVID-19 deaths reported in Minnesota

The figures are from Wednesday, with no update provided on Thanksgiving.