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Charleston woman who overcame cancer, accident keeps playing

October 12, 2013 07:21 PM

AIKEN, S.C. – Elisabeth Pickelsimer didn’t know what had happened.

One drizzly, early morning last April, she was waiting across the street from the Medical University of South Carolina Wellness Center in Charleston.

She remembers holding her umbrella high to stay dry, seeing the walk signal and stepping onto the street.

Her next memory, however, is in the emergency room.

Pickelsimer had been hit by a car, suffering a concussion, a bruised ankle and an agitated knee.

For more than a week she couldn’t walk. She often felt nauseated, dizzy. Even getting out of bed was painful because her brain had swollen so much.

Yet this weekend, Pickelsimer, 69, is not resting in bed; she is playing tennis in a United States Tennis Association South Carolina championship.

Pickelsimer captains two mixed doubles teams competing this weekend in Aiken. Her Lowcountry Tennis Association teams are competing in the 7.0 divisions of the 55 and Over and 65 and Over Mixed Doubles Championships.

She, herself, is back on the court as well.

“My leg is not as strong as it was,” she said, “but I’m moving a lot better.”

She also has overcome fears that she would fall and strike her head, experiencing another concussion.

Pickelsimer has overcome health scares before, though.

In November 2009, she had her right knee replaced, the same one that was later reinjured when she was struck by the car.

And last year, she still captained two teams while enduring chemotherapy and radiation for breast cancer.

Her perseverance comes from her athletic upbringing, she said. Pickelsimer, who grew up in Piedmont, played basketball in high school, junior college and at Winthrop University.

And now that she recently retired, she’s looking forward to more years of athletic activity and tennis, injury-free, of course.

“Our 60 and older teams have enjoyed playing in Aiken and participating in the state championships since the competition was first offered in 2009,” she said. “We are fortunate that USTA South Carolina supports state competition for older players.”