Maria Hindman was having an amazing season.
The junior bowler at St. Hubert High School was in striking distance of the Most Valuable Player in the Catholic League, and every day, her bowling was improving.
Then, thanks to her dog not putting away his toys, she nearly had her season ended.
“I woke up and I was going downstairs to get my puppy, and he left a toy on the step and I fell back,” Hindman said of the Feb. 10 incident. “I didn’t feel good, I came up and told my parents. I told my mom, then my dad, and he was in the middle of telling me he thought I banged my head when I passed out.
“I was getting sick, they thought I was in shock. My mom called the ambulance. They asked me questions like who I was and I remembered, but then they asked me to remember a sentence and repeat it and I couldn’t. I was slurring my words and I couldn’t get it out, so they said I probably had a bad concussion.
“I ended up in ICU for the day with a severe concussion. They were also worried about a brain bleed. They said I could have been paralyzed, I could have really been hurt. Luckily, it felt better after I recovered.”
The recovery wasn’t fun, but it was necessary.
In order for her brain to get better, she had to be careful not to overdo it. That meant a lot of resting for someone who is used to being on the go.
“It was bad, I couldn’t concentrate, I would get headaches,” said Hindman, who lives in Mayfair. “I had to go to a followup doctor because I had a really bad concussion. I couldn’t walk a straight line. It definitely affected me. I had to limit my screen time, like my phone, I had to do things a lot differently. It was about three weeks until I got back to normal.”
While missing out on everyday life was rough, Hindman was more upset about missing bowling.
As a freshman, she tried the sport for something to do. It wasn’t something she took too seriously. But two years later, it’s definitely a priority for her. Not only is she one of the best bowlers in the school, she’s one of the best in the Catholic League, finishing third at the All-Catholic tournament.
She had to ease her way back into bowling following the injury. The bright lights and loud noises weren’t good for her recovery, so she missed more time than she would have liked, but once she was back, she felt great.
“It felt great to be back, I really didn’t want to miss time, when they told me I was hurt, my first question was when can I come back,” she said. “I missed two games, and that kept me from going for MVP. It was hard, but I could have been paralyzed. I’ll take losing MVP over that.
“I had a good season. First-Team All-Catholic. I’ve come a long way. I joined as a joke, and my first year I was lucky if I had a 70 game. Now I have a 255 high game. Believe it or not, I got better when I got a new ball. My sophomore year, I got a new ball, and I learned how to curve it. Now it’s all about practicing.”
After pouring a lot of attention into her favorite sport, Hindman realized that she’s taking after someone very close to her heart.
“I was close to my grandfather, he died in 2017” Hindman said. “He was a bowler and a really good one. I never knew that. When I started bowling, I had to continue because I knew it would make him proud.
“My parents surprised me, I think it was my second game my freshman year. They had a lady draw a picture of my grandfather holding his ball and me holding my ball next to him. I love it. It’s the most sacred present I ever got.”
While improving her game on the lanes is very important, Hindman stays busy in other ways. She works in a warehouse with her uncle, a job she loves because it keeps her in shape, and she’s active at Hubert. She’s a member of the ministry club and Athletes Helping Athletes, and she’s also a Bambie Ambassador.
“I love the school, so I love being involved,” said Hindman, a strong student in the classroom. “Going to St. Hubert’s was the best decision I made.”
She hopes it propels her to her future career.
“I dream of being a professional bowler,” Hindman said. “I watch it on TV, and I dream of that being me.”
And when she does, she’ll have a lot of people to thank.
Hindman practices bowling with her friends, and also goes bowling with her boyfriend. But she credits her parents with being her biggest supporters.
“My parents are so supportive,” Hindman said. “My mom is my biggest fan, she hasn’t missed a game ever. My dad works night shift, he goes when he can. They helped me.
“I got my sister (Chloe) into it, she’s 8. She loves it, she gets excited. She’s definitely getting there.”
Hindman now is turning her attention to her senior year. This year, the Bambies lost in the Catholic League championship. Next year, the goal is to stay healthy and win a title.
“We did really well this year, we lost to Bonner-Prendergast. I told the girls no matter what, we got there. Next year, I would love to win MVP, but the goal is to win a championship.”