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Thursday, September 16, 2021
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Volleyball star Monika Šimkova fights for her life in ICU

Senior outside hitter entered hospital in early August with deadly bacterial infection

Monika Simkova (14) returns the ball to the Toledo Rockets during a 2019 contest.
Monika Simkova (14) returns the ball to the Toledo Rockets during a 2019 contest.

Over the past few years, Monika Šimkova could be found regularly on the Alumni Arena floor, fighting to defeat her volleyball opponents.

Today, Šimkova finds herself in a different fight: for her life.

Šimkova, a senior outside hitter from Malacky, Slovakia, has been in the ICU since early August with a life-threatening streptococcal bacterial infection. Her condition rapidly deteriorated, according to a GoFundMe set up by her sister, Lucia Michalovicova, which led doctors to perform a bilateral above the knee amputation.

Šimkova has had seven surgeries in five weeks, according to her sister. She is unable to eat on her own. She is continuing to fight off the bacterial infection in her blood, a fungus in her leg wound post-amputation and pneumonia in her lungs. She turned septic in the ICU, which led to multi-organ failure.

Michalovicova launched the crowdfunding campaign to help gather enough support and funding to become her sister’s primary caregiver. She started the hashtag, #One4Mon, playing off Simkova’s jersey number, 14. The fundraiser has brought in over $76,000 of its $100,000 goal in just over a day. 

“Monika is continuing to improve each and every day,” Michalovicova said in the GoFundMe description. “Being able to sit up in bed, sucking on an ice chip and being able to swallow water down her throat is massive progress. Things we take for granted are life changing moments for Monika.”

Simkova joined the Bulls in 2019 after spending her first two collegiate seasons with Long Beach State. She has appeared on the Slovakian National Team every year since 2014 and competed at the U19/U20 European Championships. 

She led UB in service aces, with 30, and added an impressive 111 kills last season.

Those who feel inclined can use this link to donate to Šimkova’s recovery.

Hunter Skoczylas is the sports editor and can be reached at hunter.skoczylas@ubspectrum.com or on Twitter @HunterSkoczylas

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HUNTER SKOCZYLAS

Hunter Skoczylas is the assistant sports editor for The Spectrum. In his free time, he can be found looking up random sports statistics, posting memes on Twitter, and dedicating his Sunday afternoons to watching the Buffalo Bills. 

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