Husky Sophomore Kayla Burt Addresses The Media

Jan. 8, 2003

Just one day after being released from the hospital, Husky sophomore guard Kayla Burt spoke to the media, Wednesday, about the heart condition that has ended her career and about the teammates who saved her life.

Press Conference
January 8, 2003

Kayla Burt:

General Comments: 'I feel so blessed by everyone and I am here and I am happy. It is amazing. I have gone through so much in just the past week. I am so blessed to be here. I have amazing teammates; I have an amazing family here. You all have heard the story and here I am. What a blessing. I haven't really comprehended it all yet. I have just been resting and actually slept in my own bed last night. I slept okay, it was kind of uncomfortable. I have been doing really well.'

On what she remembers from the night of New Year's Eve: 'I don't remember a whole lot. It has been what people have told me. I guess I was sitting in my room with Loree Payne. I think it was around 11:30 and I didn't think I was going to make it until midnight, I was so tired. I told her I was a little light headed and I fell over off the bed towards my wall. I think I might have hit my head. Loree was there and told me to get up, that this wasn't funny, to get up. I've been known not to be a joker about serious stuff like this, but a clown and to keep people on their toes. She kept telling me to get up and started yelling for people downstairs. They called the paramedics. Loree called first and then Giuliana and Gioconda started positioning me like they thought it would be necessary for CPR from what they have seen in shows. Rescue 911 is my favorite show. Growing up that was my favorite show, I knew every episode and I could probably perform CPR from watching. They went off from what they had seen too on Rescue 911. Then they started getting directions from the 911 operators. The paramedics were there in about four minutes, amazing. They saved my life, my teammates and the paramedics. I haven't even comprehended everything that has happened. It is so amazing.'

On what she thinks of her defibrillator: 'First of all, I have been studying how to say it. It's a defibrillator with an R, not a defiberlator. It feels good. It is on my right side. It is a little puffy and it hurts to touch, which is normal. The swelling will go down. They opened it and it is kind of like a little pocket right in my chest. It is not the most comfortable thing, but it is going to save my life if this ever happens again. I'll take it.'

On watching the UW basketball team play again: 'It is going to be hard. There are going to be a lot of people there and I am not going to have a uniform on. That is tough right now. I still haven't taken it all in. I know it is going to hit my like a brick wall one of these days. It hasn't yet. Just to see my teammates out on the court is all I could ever ask for. They saved my life and now they are out there playing for me. I know they are going to do awesome. I know it is going to be an awesome season. I am excited. I know I am not going to get to play for the rest of my career, but I know I am going to be here every step of the way and I am excited for that. I wouldn't want to do it with any other group of people, ever.'

On any warning signs that she felt: 'With college basketball, you tend to get up and pretty excited and your heart gets going quite a bit when you get ready for those games. I remember I would have problems getting a full deep breath sometimes and I didn't know if it was pressure from the game or just trying to get that deep breath before the start of the game to try and relax and play. I remember I have been having those deep problems for a long time, but nothing that I thought was serious because I would eventually catch my breath and be fine out on the court. I don't know if that had anything to do with what happened to me, but it is one of those things that you think about and you wonder if it was something that had to do with it I think there might have been times when I felt light headed, but not really extreme. Sometimes I think I would get up too fast and I would feel a little lightheaded. I never thought it was anything serious. I don't remember it happening that often.'

On what the doctors have told her about her condition: 'I am about as lucky as anyone has ever been lucky. My heart was stopped, I was dead. I wasn't alive. There is a reason those people were there. I could have been by myself. There is a reason those girls are there and that the paramedics were there in four minutes and there is a reason I am here. It is amazing.'

On how her view of how life has changed: 'My perspective on things is so much different and I am sure you guys have heard that a lot. My priorities are different. I look at my teammates and my family and my priorities are so much more different. It is going to take a while to kind of get used to it all, but so far I have handled it pretty well. I think this is the first time I have cried in a long time. I have been really happy. If I were anywhere else, I can't even imagine. But they are sisters for life and I couldn't ask for anything more ever.'

On the team's overtime win against USC while she was in the hospital: 'I sat in my hospital room and I listened to Steve Sandmeyer on the radio. I have never heard an actual radio broadcast from him because I have always been playing. Just to listen to the excitement and my team played awesome. Deep down I knew it was for me. It was the greatest feeling ever and they played their hearts out for me. They could have easily have crumpled and played horrible with the circumstances, but they came out and played so hard against an amazing team. But for them to pull that out and to know that they did that for me, that was awesome.'

On her role on the basketball team: 'I'll take anything to be around here. I am not going anywhere that is for sure. Coaching is something that excites me. Just to be around these girls for the rest of my life, I would take it.'

On what she wants to do now that she is out of the hospital: 'I know that basketball is over. I haven't comprehended that yet. I know I am going to have highs and lows. I know that this is something that I don't have any control over and it is hard, but I am happy to be here. I am alive and I can walk out on the court and I can sit on that bench and watch a game. That is all I could ever ask for.'

Head Coach June Daugherty:

On Kayla's progress as a player: 'It's been phenomenal because of the fact of how hard she has worked, especially in the weight room and really improved her overall body strength and with that came more quickness and consistency. We do a lot of player development in the off-season with coaches. Kayla responded really well to everything we were asking her to do, both offensively and defensively. Her penetration to the basket became much stronger and her shooting became much better. With most recently in the games we have played, I felt like you could put her out there and she could stop just about anybody. Her rebounding was really coming on strong too. You have to keep in mind last year as a freshman she missed the entire preseason with stress fracture. I know we commented at the time last year as a coaching staff for a freshman to come into a program and to be able to pick up much of this college system that she did by just watching told us a lot about her intellect as a basketball player. She didn't have the full year last year and she really took advantage of it this summer to improve all the way around. She was playing some amazing basketball.'

On how the team has been affected: 'This has always been a close group. This is a basketball family. Everybody is very close in this program, but I think when you go through something that we went through, it is amazing for all of us to talk and talk about how we have to play as a team, we have to do this as a team and sacrifice ourselves as a team for the good of Washington. To see these kids really come together and have nothing on their minds except going out there and playing for Kayla like they did, it is the most amazing experience I have ever had as a coach.'

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