MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – From lacrosse and basketball to swimming and diving, sports have always been a part of Adrianna Schlossmacher Smith’s life.
“Always, since day one,” she said.
But that changed the day the teenager at Roseville Area High School took her last dive in the pool.
“I had just started a new dive, and I just nailed the water and hit my head the wrong way,” she said.
Adrianna couldn’t get her hands above her head in time before she hit the water.
“A doctor explained it to me as hitting your head up against a brick wall — that’s how fast you’re going and how hard your head hits the water,” she said.
She suffered a traumatic brain injury. Two years later, the effects still linger.
“I’ve had vision impairment,” she said. “My memory, you could tell me three numbers and I couldn’t repeat them back to you, it all went downhill.”
But none of it shows in her grades. She thanks two dedicated teachers for sticking by her side.
There’s her math teacher, Tehann Zelinski.
“She asked you how you’re feeling or if you needed to take breaks because if you have headaches, tiredness is a big part of it all,” Adrianna said.
And then there’s she science teacher, Andrea Anderson Zimmermann.
“I have to take my test in two parts because my brain just goes flat after a few minutes,” Adrianna said. “She would take the second half with me and then we would go over it together.”
To show her gratitude, Adrianna came along as WCCO-TV surprised both teachers with Excellent Educator awards.
“You really made science a better experience for me and I just want to say thank you for that,” Adrianna told Zimmerman.
Both teachers give the credit to Adrianna.
“Adrie has been a delight to work with,” Zelinski said.
“I think her name should maybe be on here too because you worked so hard in my class,” Zimmerman said.
She says Adrianna helped improve her lessons by asking her teacher questions and forcing her to think about the material in a different way.
As for how Adrianna is doing, for the last 20 months she’s attended occupational and physical therapy and vision training 3-4 days a week.
But she believes her persistence and positive attitude makes her stronger.