By Minjae Park
Just as her favorite basketball player, Kobe Bryant, nears retirement, 11-year-old Marina Pellicciari is entering a new phase in her career.
After a spinal surgery in the summer, Marina, who has cerebral palsy, spent hours in grueling inpatient rehabilitation in her effort to re-learn how to walk. Now, the sprightly, athletically minded Ramsey girl is back on the basketball court, where she loves to be, hounding opposing players when they have the ball.
“I love defense,” she said. “Being aggressive and just grabbing the ball from other people.”
She bounced back from surgery far more quickly than doctors expected. One year to return to baseline, they said. She reached that in four months. The cane and walker she came back to school with in September sit tucked away in the nurse’s office.