HomeAfter her legs are amputated, UB Volleyball player fights for her life

After her legs are amputated, UB Volleyball player fights for her life

Buffalo, NY (WIVB) – A member of the University at Buffalo women’s volleyball team is in the hospital after a violent infection has taken over her body.

There is something exciting about your last year in college, it’s as if the rest of your life is about to begin. But that is no longer the case for UB volleyball player Monica Simkova, who has spent the past three months at Buffalo General Hospital fighting for her life.

“It was like a nightmare. I can’t even describe it. It was like a nightmare,” Simkova’s sister said.

Monica Simkova dominates the UB Volleyball Court. Her coach boasts that she is one of the best servers in the Mid-America Conference.

“She’s a left-handed 6’2 from Slovakia. She was a transfer from Long Beach State. After I got the head coaching job, she was the first person I brought to campus,” said UB Women’s Volleyball coach Scott Smith.

“She definitely has a special place in my heart.”

To know Monica is to love her and this is indisputable among her teammates.

“She is a very reliable person, she always likes to have a friend, so she will do something, she will have someone to do something with,” one of her colleagues on Simkova told us.

With a group close to the UB women’s volleyball team, Monica was rarely alone. So it wasn’t unusual for her coach to check on her when she had a cold. But Scott Smith soon realized that Monica was battling more than just a cold.

“When I got there, she wasn’t looking really good. The coloring was off, she wasn’t breathing normally and I was like, ‘We need to call 9-1-1 I think we need an ambulance. I don’t think I can get her out of the apartment,'” Smith said. “.

The doctors rushed the healthy athlete just days before going to the intensive care unit, and the doctors realized that a violent bacterial infection had spread and turned her body into rot.

It was like, wait she had a cold and it was obviously so much more than that. We couldn’t see that beforehand, and even in the emergency room, they weren’t sure what was going on,” Smith added.

Monica’s sister was still in Slovakia trying hard to get to her in time. But decisions to save her life had to be made quickly.

They amputated her legs. Both, it happened when we came home in Slovakia, “sister Monica told us. Her legs had to be amputated from above the knees. They were above saving.”

After weeks of critical care, Lucia says Monica doesn’t remember what happened.

“She started to realize what had just happened. It happened because the doctors tried to save her life. There was no guarantee that she would even survive without her legs.”

It’s an uphill battle.

“It’s going to be really mental, really challenging. It’s not just a matter of weeks. Maybe months. Maybe years before she fully accepted what happened,” Monica’s sister added.

But she’s not fighting alone and her teammates are working to make sure she knows it. They started a GoFundMe page which raised over $130,000 for her and her family. They also have a new team logo.

We came up with a hashtag, “One4Mon” and it just shows that we’re trying to achieve unity and being together and the community to be one for her and for us to think of something to be one for her,” Monica’s roommate Mila Malik said.

The team keeps Monica close, hashtag “One4Mon” written on their hands during matches, and honoring her jersey are just a few ways.

“The outpouring of support from the UB community has been absolutely amazing. We were touched by the response,” said teammate Monica.

Monica and Lucia spend their days at Buffalo General, first in the intensive care unit, but now graduating to a step-down unit to recover. Buffalo has become a new type of home for sisters.

“When I came here I didn’t know anyone in this city. I was completely alone. I was a complete stranger. Monica’s sister told us we had amazing support from the whole community here.

Support from college and the community keeps them going as they prepare for whatever comes next.

“She is a fighter. She is incredibly strong – mentally. She is just fighting to get her life back.”

If you would like to donate to Monika Simkova’s GoFundMe page, click Here.

Abby Friedman is a broadcaster and reporter who joined the News 4 team in November 2020. See more of her work Here.