Wednesday, April 23, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Cal’s Rogers carries on despite heart condition

Tierra Rogers

California's Tierra Rogers watches from the sidelines during NCAA college basketball practice, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

BERKELEY — For two years, Tierra Rogers cried herself to sleep each night as California’s basketball team moved forward without her.

Still grieving 20 months after her father was murdered during one of her high school games, Rogers’ career got cut short before it began. A top recruit, the highly touted freshman guard collapsed and stopped breathing in a seriously close call outside the Cal training room.

It’s been three years since that frightening day. Most with her rare heart condition never know, until it’s too late, because it is often fatal.

Rogers rarely misses practice these days, even though she has never played a minute for the Golden Bears, who jumped to No. 11 in this week’s AP Top 25 poll. Rogers steps in to help during drills as a passer, or stays busy under the basket to rebound balls and keep things moving. On game day, she is the last player the Cal starters greet for a handshake or choreographed dance move during introductions.

“A lot of tears were shed. I think of my dad a lot,” Rogers said during a recent practice. “I felt alone. I felt lost. I felt I had no control over anything in my life. I felt defeated. I was just sad and distraught at everything that happened.”

To see Rogers now, smiling, still taking part on the court in a drastically different role, is to see just how far this young woman has come in a success story that reaches from Rogers to her teammates and coaches and the entire Bay Area. Rogers recently began taking part in a clinical trial at UC San Francisco, something she hopes will help others with her health situation keep playing their sport at a high level.

She is on schedule to graduate next summer — on time, with a bachelor’s degree in African American Studies.

“She amazes me,” said Rogers’ mother, Dalonna Ingram-Rogers. “I always tell her I get my strength from her. She says, ‘Well, you and dad raised me,’ and I tell her, ‘Give yourself some credit.’ She has been through so much at a young age. It’s so easy to quit.”

On Sept. 21, 2009, Rogers collapsed at Haas Pavilion after she had trouble breathing during a workout. She was taken by ambulance to a hospital, where she spent a week for testing and observation. Once doctors determined she had a cardiac condition, she was transferred to UC San Francisco Medical Center. There, doctors discovered her condition — Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Dysplasia — and implanted a defibrillator.

A high school All-American at San Francisco’s Sacred Heart Cathedral Prep, her dad was shot to death at halftime of a game across the street from her home gym on Jan. 12, 2008. She considered giving up basketball after the tragedy.

Later, the decision was made for her.

Former Cal coach Joanne Boyle, now at Virginia, still keeps in touch with Rogers whenever possible. Second-year Bears coach Lindsay Gottlieb was Boyle’s top assistant during the recruiting process with Rogers, but had left to coach Santa Barbara by the time Rogers arrived.

When Gottlieb returned last season, keeping Rogers around on scholarship was never a question.

“She is 100 percent a part of the team,” Gottlieb said. “Her presence is really felt, and her presence is really important.”

Rogers often called her mother, who lives in Houston after leaving San Francisco, in the middle of the night fighting the urge to give up, to leave town and start fresh elsewhere.

“I said, ‘We’ll cry every day, but leaving is not an option,’” her mom said.

Boyle made a point to check in on Rogers twice a day, if not more.

“She had just started to find the love of the game again when she got to Cal. Going to games brought back memories of her dad,” Boyle said. “She played the rest of the season and her heart wasn’t in it. She got to Cal and the kids said the first couple weeks she was playing awesome.

“My concern for her and listening to her talk was just, at that age, how can you handle losing your father and the thing she identified most with after she had found the love again? She had some dark, dark moments, she really did, and understandably so.”

Rogers easily could have walked away. Instead, she leaned on her support system in Berkeley. Last year, Rogers came through when teammate and then-roommate Eliza Pierre most needed a caring friend who could relate. Pierre’s older brother, Wilson, was killed at a North Hollywood party in a gang-related shooting in August 2011.

It was Rogers who flew home with Pierre to mark the one-year anniversary of his death this summer.

“I always knew I had a friend who was there for me, period. We were already close before it happened. Both of our struggles and pains have brought us together,” Pierre said. “The team is like a family in that sense. She has contributed to this team in so many other ways even though she can’t play. She stuck it out.”

Rogers still has emotional moments. Naturally, she has questioned, “Why me?”

On the tough days, Rogers opts to stay away from practice so her mood doesn’t affect her teammates. That’s not often.

“You still feel some type of loneliness,” she said.

Rogers met regularly with a counselor, plus a tutor to help with a learning disability that makes numbers and reading comprehension that much more challenging.

“I think people doubted she could do it on time, and she’s going to do it on time,” Boyle said.

Rogers led her high school team to state titles from 2006-08, including perfect 32-0 seasons in 2007 and ’08. She lost only three games in her entire four-year high school career.

“That’s all she ever thought she would do was play basketball,” her mother said. “And to not have that and still be in that surrounding, is great.”

Cal athletic trainer Ann Caslin still walks by the defibrillator in the arena hallway and instantly goes back to that day, one she will never forget.

“She’s one of those kids who comes along and you say, ‘I never will forget her,’” Caslin said. “She’s part of me.”

Rogers reports to doctors at UC San Francisco every couple of weeks — and someday, she hopes, she will be well enough to no longer need her defibrillator and still lead an active lifestyle. She can exercise at low intensity, with caution.

Because of Rogers’ story, both Caslin and Gottlieb field questions from other programs dealing with similar issues.

“I’ve really never seen her so genuinely happy. She’s an inspiration that she can take such joy in a role she never asked for and never predicted,” Gottlieb said. “She has turned every difficult situation into something positive. She’ll forever be one of the most remarkable student-athletes having never played a single game.”

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

 
Delta barriers no longer needed

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1

 
Supervisors voice concern on state Delta plans

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Dental clinic coming Friday, Saturday

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A3, 5 Comments

 
Rotarians talk about running clinic to help Haitians

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Fairfield-Suisun Sewer District eyes new auditor

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A4

 
County honors Purple Heart recipients

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A6

 
Solano recognizes 1,300-strong volunteer corps

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A6

 
Garamendi to host open house at Fairfield office

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A7

 
Highway 12 night work scheduled in Delta

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A7

 
Kids fishing derby in Fairfield is part of Earth Day

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A7

 
County approves Icon agreements

By Barry Eberling | From Page: B9

Ceremony set to break ground for Suisun City Walmart

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B9, 19 Comments | Gallery

 
Dutch Bros. opening with free drinks

By Barry Eberling | From Page: B9, 8 Comments

 
Museum readies to host Sallie Fox Day in Vacaville

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A10, 1 Comment

Golf tournament to raise funds for children

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A10, 1 Comment

 
Mustangs and More event moved back to October

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A10

Rotary club to host clay shooting derby

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A11

 
Ghost Walk returns to Suisun City

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A11

Penalty decision looms in Winters homicide case

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A11

 
NAMI talk on reducing mental health stigma

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A11

 
.

US / World

In Internet TV case, justices show concern

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Michigan affirmative ban is OK, Supreme Court says

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

GOP candidate releases education policy overview

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

 
‘Piles and piles’ of bodies in S. Sudan slaughter

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

FedEx sued over deadly California bus crash

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14, 1 Comment

 
Obama views mudslide scene, mourns with survivors

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

Analysis: Putin likely to ignore West on Ukraine

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
Biden: Russia must ‘stop talking and start acting’

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

Most Sherpas decide to leave Everest for season

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
Grieving borrowers told to repay student loan

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

Jet stowaway at hospital; security issues linger

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
SKorea ferry toll hits 146 as search gets tougher

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

Ukraine orders new ‘anti-terror’ operation

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
In Ukraine’s east, mayor held hostage by insurgent

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

Acts of bravery emerge from pilloried ship crew

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
IRS awards bonuses to 1,100 who owe back taxes

By The Associated Press | From Page: A15, 4 Comments

.

Opinion

 
Editorial cartoons for April 23, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A13

 

Groundwater becomes next big California fight

By Thomas Elias | From Page: A13

 
Fairfield’s main problem is the mayor

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A13, 6 Comments

.

Living

Solving and resolving life’s problems

By Barton Goldsmith | From Page: A2

 
Today in History for April 23, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Community Calendar: April 23, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
 
A healthy take on the very not healthy Scotch egg

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Horoscopes for April 23, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B7

 
How can I get my 12-year-old grandson to sleep in his own bed?

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B7

.

Entertainment

DeGeneres making design series for HGTV

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Discovery to chronicle Everest avalanche

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Bieber seeks delay in Fla. DUI trial

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Bon Jovi helps open low-income housing in Philly

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9, 1 Comment

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

 
.

Sports

5 Fairfield runners finish Boston Marathon

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

 
Sharks beat Kings 4-3 in OT, take 3-0 series lead

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Prep swimming update: Postseason looms on horizon

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
SCC softball ends regular season with 29 straight wins

By Brian Arnold | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Warriors’ Curry eager to erase Game 2 nightmare

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Spurs’ Popovich wins NBA Coach of the Year

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Raiders begin offseason workouts

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
David Moyes out as Manchester United manager

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Seahawks acquire QB Terrelle Pryor

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
NFL playoff game to air on ESPN for 1st time

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

MLB suspends 4 after Brewers-Pirates brawl

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Djokovic: Wrist better, will try to play in Madrid

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Armstrong coach Bruyneel banned for 10 years

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Pujols’ 500th HR helps Angels beat Nationals 7-2

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Rangers rally for two runs in ninth to beat A’s

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Beverly Hanson, forgotten pioneer in women’s golf

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Tech boom presents new wrinkles for Wrigley Field

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Warriors announce new plans for SF arena

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Kentucky freshman Julius Randle to enter NBA draft

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
AP Source: N.Y. Giants’ Hill facing 3rd suspension

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

NBA Playoffs: Raptors even series with Nets

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
.

Business

Novartis reshapes business with GSK, Lilly deals

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

 
McDonald’s 1Q profit slips as US sales decline

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

AT&T had strong 1Q on wireless installment plans

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

 
Valeant, Ackman make $45.6B Allergan bid

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

.

Obituaries

Richard P. Horn

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Kyong Hee Maxwell

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Norma O’Regan

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
Anne Irene Elizabeth Fulgoni

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 3 Comments

.

Comics

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Wizard Of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7