LANCASTER, Pa. – The Atlantic East Conference announced its first-ever Medal of Inspiration selections, and Marymount University women's basketball's Clare McNulty was honored with the award in the first year of the conference.
The award is given to individuals who had to overcome adversity in their lives to become a stronger version of themselves.
McNulty has spent the last four seasons with the women's basketball program, beginning with her freshman season in 2015-16.
During her freshman season, McNulty suffered a concussion during one of the Saints' games. Unfortunately, the concussion exacerbated symptoms associated with a rare neurological condition, Chiari Malformation. The disorder causes the bottom part of the brain to descend out of the skull and crowd the spinal cord, putting pressure on both the brain and the spine.
McNulty underwent Chiari Malformation decompression sugery and a C1-C2 vertebrae fusion during her sophomore season. Following a successful surgery, McNulty looked to return to the women's basketball team during her junior year. However, she developed an arachnoid web on her spine that was compressing her spinal cord, and she required another surgery during her junior year, ultimately ending her playing career.
McNulty never ceased to be a positive influence for the women's basketball team, continuing to motivate from the sideline every step of the way. In return, her team rallied around her, as well, dying their hair purple to bring awareness to Chiari Malformation and writing P4C (Play-4-Clare) on their shoes.
She continued to be a part of the team, even after her playing career came to an end, serving as one of the team managers. McNulty's positive attitude never faltered, as she provided strong leadership and celebrated the program's success from the bench.
To see more about McNulty's journey, click here for a video from WJLA ABC7 from 2017.