Aiken, SC (WJBF) — The USC Aiken volleyball team won its first regular season Peach Belt Title since 2007, but junior libero Katie Toman doesn’t take the Pacers success for granted. She’s lucky to even be playing volleyball.
“I thought I had fallen asleep, cause all I can really remember is like black before the accident from hitting my head so hard,” Toman said.
The summer before her senior year of high school in rural Colorado, Toman got in a car wreck driving home from a friend’s house.
“I went off on a shoulder of the highway on the way home,” she recalled. “It’s just like two-way highway, and I overcorrected and rolled my car — they think about two to four times. I don’t have a lot of really solid memories about what actually happened, but I must have been distracted by something.”
Toman was flown 45 minutes by Flight for Life’s emergency service to the nearest hospital, where she was treated for a broken facial bone and internal bleeding in her brain.
“They monitored me for like a couple days just to make sure the bleeding stopped, cause that’s what they were worried about and luckily it stopped on its own,” she said. “I don’t know what would’ve happened if it didn’t.”
She was recovering but her volleyball future was still in doubt.
“It was hard. Like, l didn’t know if I was going to be able to play again without my head hurting, honestly.”
But the symptoms eventually passed and she was able to play her senior season, before leaving to attend college at USC Aiken. She says she’s physically over the accident now, but mentally makes sure she’s focused on the road at all times.
“It takes one second to make an error that could end your life or anyone else’s,” she said. “I was really lucky that no one else was with me in the car when that happened. I mean, I could’ve lost a limb in the accident, I could’ve not been able to walk, I could’ve not been able to do a whole lot of things, so still being able to do something that I love is really important to me, and I appreciate it more than I thought I could have.”