CHARLESTON, S.C. - Emma Racila, who graduated in 2008 and was a student-athlete on the CofC Volleyball team was recently selected to be a member of the U.S. Deaf National Team.
Racila was born on Oct. 23 1987 with a blood disease and collapsed lung, but miraculously overcame what doctors said was just a 25 percent chance of survival. Her fight was one of inspiration.
"She just defied all odds," said Lili Racila, Emma's pediatrician. "She was a tough little fighter."
Emma was a District 16-Class 3A Player of the Year at Bishop Verot High School in Fort Myers, Fla., helping her team to four district titles and two Class 3A final fours, which helped her earn a scholarship to the College of Charleston.
CofC Head Coach Jason Kepner said he is extremely happy about this honor for Emma and thinks she will be a great representative for team USA.
"I am so proud of Emma," Kepner said. "She has always worked very hard and this is such a great honor for her. Anytime you get a chance to represent the USA it is something you will never forget. She will be an outstanding ambassador for the USA and also the College of Charleston. I wish her all the best and will definitely be following the games."
Racila and her teammates will compete in the 2011 Volleyball Friendship Games, to be held at Gallaudet University in Washington, DC July 31-August 6. The U.S. will compete against Canada, Japan and Ukraine. Ukraine, United States and Japan finished 1-2-3 at the 2009 Deaflympics.
After the Friendship Games the 13-member team will compete in the 2011 Pan Am Deaf Games, the 2012 Deaf World Championships and the 2013 Summer Deaflympics.
The Deaflympics are the longest running multi-sport event excluding the Olympics, with the first games held in Paris in 1924.
Racila said she doesn't focus on setbacks and instead lives life to the fullest.
"I just haven't really focused on the difficulties," she said. "I just go about it normally. It's not even really a factor."