AUBURN, Ala. — More than 20 months passed between Tannon Snow’s last home run at Washington and her first one with Auburn softball on Saturday night.
In the second game of Auburn’s third straight doubleheader, Snow launched a 2-out, 2-run home run off the scoreboard at Jane B. Moore Field. The blast against Furman served as a memorable first hit as a Tiger.
“Oh my gosh, it’s so good,” Snow said Saturday. “It’s so good to be back on the field. … It’s been a while.”
For 17 of those months between home runs, Snow has battled epilepsy. The condition took her away from action for nearly an entire year. She missed all of Auburn’s 2017 season after transferring from Washington.
Last Thursday, hours before Auburn opened the 2018 season against Marshall, Snow shared in an Instagram post all that she had gone through since September 2016 — when she had her first seizure since she was in the sixth grade:
As I approach the start of my sophomore season, I’m ready to step on the field stronger than I have ever been. Physically, I may have missed a full year of live at-bats, and I may see less reps in practice and in the weight room, but mentally I am in a place I’ve never been before. This year I’ve been blessed with perspective and a burn in my belly I can’t put in words.
As some of you may know, I medically redshirted last year and stepped away from the game to focus on my health. I started having seizures in September of 2016 and in November of 2017 I was officially diagnosed with Epilepsy.
If you know someone with Epilepsy you are probably familiar with the many challenges. Though there were many times I questioned if I’d ever play again I’m so proud of the perseverance, sacrifices, and lifestyle changes I’ve made to pursue my dream.
I am so thankful for the immense amount of support from my family, coaches and trainers, teammates, and Auburn University. They have been there to console me, take me to the hospital and drs visits, drive me to and from school and practice, and so many other things to help me continue to participate as a student athlete.
Thursday is a very special day. I get to step on that diamond for my first spring collegiate game as a Tiger, I get to play my first collegiate game with my sister by my side, and above all else hopefully I can be an example for anyone else struggling with epilepsy or any other medical condition. I’ll be posting more about my life as a student athlete taking on epilepsy @this_snow_rises if you’re interested in following my journey.
The previously undisclosed condition required back-and-forth trips between Auburn and her home in Chino Hills, Calif. She was hospitalized for several stretches while her teammates played back on the Plains.
“It’s been quite the journey,” Snow said Saturday, fighting back tears. “I wouldn’t be able to do it without this Auburn family. They’ve had my back through this whole thing. The support is unbelievable. Coach [Mickey] Dean, Coach [Clint] Myers… It’s been incredible. My family, my teammates, everyone — not being able to drive, getting everywhere — I’m speechless.”
Back home in California, Snow went through her battle with her younger sister Taylon close beside her. Taylon, who is now Auburn’s starting shortstop as a freshman this season, was one of the first to meet her sister at the plate after her home run Saturday.
“It’s just a feeling you can’t really describe,” Taylon Snow said. “Everything that she’s been through, seeing her overcome those obstacles that she’s been through and seeing that ball hit off that bat, it just lit up my world.”
The Snows’ coach — first-year Auburn head man Mickey Dean — felt the same way.
“That kid, I’m so proud of her, you have no idea,” Dean said. “You have no idea how proud I am of her. Just her courage and things that she’s been through and for her to be able to speak publicly now and talk about those things, I think he’s just someone that young ladies can really look up to.
“Because people were saying a lot of things and questioning a lot of things. She’s a great kid, a great kid.”
During Snow’s unexplained absence last season for Auburn, rumors spread online about why she was away from the team.
Snow said she didn’t pay any attention to the noise.
“I put all that aside and didn’t hear anything,” Snow said. “In this bubble, we stick together. We have each others’ backs. I don’t hear all that stuff. Media, all that. I don’t listen to any of that. I know what’s true, I know what’s going on. I’m living it.”
Snow went back to social media this week, though, to share her story. As Taylon put it Saturday night, she didn’t have to tell anyone publicly. She didn’t owe anyone an explanation after her medical redshirt season.
But Snow wanted to use her battle to help others. Snow said she has connected with several athletes with epilepsy over the past several days.
“I needed to share my story,” Snow said. “I wanted to inspire other people, and I needed to get it out there. It’s been a tough year, and I wanted to be out there.”
According to her teammates, that’s just who the slugging sophomore from California is.
“She’s always looking out for other people,” first baseman Justus Perry said. “That’s something that’s rare, especially in sports. But she’s worried about you and not herself. And that’s awesome.”
Snow will continue her fight with epilepsy at Auburn. She will most likely play exclusively as a hitter this season in the designated player spot. The Tigers have used a pinch runner for her for most of the first six games of the season, but she had a surprise steal Saturday against Tennessee Tech.
After a full year away from the game, Snow is just thrilled to be back on the field with her sister and the rest of her teammates.
“I’m going to take it,” Snow said. “It’s just another battle, and it’s OK. I’m thankful that I’m able to go out on the field and play the game that I love. I hope that I can inspire other athletes that have epilepsy. … There are other people out there, and it’s awesome. I can still do what I love.”
Hi, my name is Tannon Snow and I play softball for Auburn University! I was diagnosed with Epilepsy last year, a couple months after my 20th birthday. I hope to dedicate this page to my journey and to encourage others with epilepsy to continue to pursue their dreams! War Eagle! 🦅
A post shared by Tannon Snow (@this_snow_rises) on
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