GARDEN CITY, N.Y. (BVM) — No one goes through life and brags about how easy it is. For Jackie Brown of the Adelphi University field hockey team, her life has been filled with medical hardships and she continues to experience them today.
At a young age, the Port Jefferson, N.Y. native discovered field hockey thanks to her mom’s involvement in the sport.
“My mom was the varsity head coach at my high school, so I was introduced to it at three-four years old by watching her coach,” Brown said. “At about the age of five, I got my stick for the first time, did some clinics, watched the older girls play, got into travel, played on the varsity team in seventh grade and ended up at Adelphi.”
Before she committed to Adelphi, Brown kept her options open and didn’t have a top choice. However, a previous connection to head coach Mary Moore swayed her decision process. In fact, Adelphi wound up being the final school she visited and ultimately went on to select.
“In my original college search, I was looking at a lot of lower Division I and higher Division III schools,” Brown said. “Coach Moore reached out to me and ironically, I had her as one of my coaches for a short period of time on my travel team. I did a visit there and I absolutely loved the campus.”
Following her first season at the school, Brown developed concerning medical symptoms that began in her sophomore year. To this day, they remain undiagnosed and are still prominent in her life.
“My symptoms have been chest pain, lightheadedness, seeing black dots and a very very high heart rate,” Brown said. “I don’t really know what’s going on with it. I have a whole bunch of doctors and specialists, but there’s still no answer.”
With these symptoms taking place on the field, it’s an even bigger challenge that Brown faces considering it ultimately impacts the way she goes about the game.
“It’s definitely frustrating to say the least,” Brown said. “I’m not used to being out, so when I am, I do anything I can to get back on the field. When I do get an episode on the field, I take myself out and do some breathing exercises to get my heart rate back down to where I can go back in and play.”
Once Brown realized these symptoms came into her life, she immediately used the “Mind Over Matter” (MOM) mindset that her mother instilled in her growing up. Knowing that her mother is a breast cancer survivor, this is even more of an inspiration to Brown.
“My mom would always say mind over matter… you’ll get through it,” Brown said. “When she went through her cancer experience, I really saw the fact that if you have the right mindset, you really can get through anything. I 100 percent believe that the MOM mindset got her through her cancer process and journey.”
In order to further remind herself about this mindset, she writes the letters “MOM” on her wrist before every game. Even when she’s not on the field, this mindset has influenced how she lives her life today.
“I didn’t really think about this motto that much growing up,” Brown said. “I try to keep that mindset to be as positive as I can and work through my symptoms.”
Since the “MOM” mindset has worked so well for Brown, she felt it needed to be applied last season after the Panthers were hit with injuries.
“Last year in particular we hit a lot of hardships,” Brown said. “We had two people go out on injury really early in the season with one being our only goalie. If we can all come together and work as a team, we’ll be able to come out stronger on the other side.”
The “MOM” mindset proved to be effective as the team finished second place in the Northeast-10 conference (NE10) and achieved an overall record of 14-5. Despite their successful regular season, Adelphi was eliminated in the first round of the NE10 Conference Championships. Brown is hopeful she and her team will be able to compete in the spring and avenge their defeat.
“We have some unfinished business to do,” Brown said. “We definitely have a bad taste in our mouth of our playoff loss in the first round. I know I’ll be a little bit devastated if we’re not able to play.”
Coming into the senior year of her collegiate career, the forward/midfielder has tallied 21 goals and 23 assists over 52 games played. This season, Brown was also appointed as the Female Co-Vice Chair of the NE10 Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC).