Most people would have no argument stating that good vision is one of the most important attributes to being a successful tennis player. While quick feet, sharp reaction time and a strong backhand are an integral part of winning, the ability to track the ball during every second of a match is the key to victory. Kara Bunkers may think otherwise.
Kara is a member of the Sioux Empire Fitness Lobsters, winners of the Jr. Team Tennis 18U Northern Intermediate section. While her tennis skills are certainly not in question, her life was when she was born back in April of 1994.
She was born eight weeks premature and was diagnosed with a condition called Hydrops fetalis, a serious condition in which abnormal amounts of fluid build-up in two or more body areas of a fetus or newborn. Doctors typically do not give newborns that are diagnosed with this condition much chance to survive and that was the case in Kara’s situation as well.
After spending 47 days in a neonatal intensive care unit and undergoing a number of blood transfusions to counteract her heart and lung failure and anemia, Kara was finally taken home into the comfort of her own family. Yet this did not mark the end of obstacles for her. Since Kara was born so prematurely, her retinas had not fully developed yet at the time of her birth. This has lead to blurred vision and instances where her vision will sporadically shift to one side.
All of this, however, does not seem to ever affect her performance on the tennis court. Kara is the No. 2 singles player on the Roosevelt High School girl’s team, as well as a member of the No. 1 doubles team. Additionally, she is an integral part of the Sioux Empire Fitness Lobsters as they try to capture the Junior Team Tennis National Championship in Surprise, Ariz. this weekend.
"My dedication and focus are what have helped me get to where I am today," said Kara. "My dad has been a huge inspiration in my life and he has helped me progress over the last few years."