February 1, 2013

West Chester's Dugan Lax Player, Life Saver

Reigning PSAC player of year earns LM preseason nod

Aside from her accomplishments on the field, West Chester's Tori Dugan has saved at least one life. She donated bone marrow after she was found to be a match for a 50-year-old man with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
© Joe Rogate

by Mark Macyk | LaxMagazine.com

Batman doesn't grant interviews, but if he did, it might be something like talking with West Chester's Tori Dugan.

Dugan has saved at least one life, but she shrugs it off as no big deal. What resonates with Dugan aren't the successes, but the rare failures. Like Batman regretting the time Joker got away, Dugan laments the infrequent occasions when West Chester, which has gone 32-9 and in her two years on campus, has lost.

During track workouts, Dugan visualizes chasing a player from LIU Post, the team formerly known as C.W. Post that ended West Chester's season in the Division II championship game.

Losing is torturous. By comparison, life-saving was easy.

In November 2011, Dugan was identified as a bone marrow match for a 50-year-old man with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. She had joined a national registry of donors thanks to a campus-wide initiative spearheaded by West Chester's football team.

For many, the mention of marrow brings to mind painful images of needles extracting from bone. Dugan insists it isn't so bad. For one, they hardly ever go into the donor's bones anymore. The marrow is obtained from the blood.

"It actually wasn't painful at all," she said. "It was a six-hour procedure. I had a needle in both arms. They take the blood out, spin it down and take what they need. It's a slow process. It's not that grueling."

Just two days of shots (to build her blood cell count), then six hours in the hospital as they drained and replaced her blood, followed by weeks of rest needed due to a low blood cell count and an enlarged spleen.

"'And in my spare time I save lives,'" said West Chester assistant Sue Burmester, referencing Dugan's nonchalance.

According to the National Bone Marrow Donor Program's website, just one out of every 540 registry members eventually donate. Dugan, 22, said her age group offers prime candidates.

"She's modest," West Chester coach Ginny Martino said. "She just scored her 100th goal, I don't think she even knows it."

Dugan grew up minutes from campus, but just like Batman, she had to leave home and study in a foreign land — in her case, a year at Louisville — before returning as the hero West Chester deserved. In 2012, she was the PSAC Player of the Year and finished seventh in Division II in points (94), 10th in assists (40) and fifth in draw controls (120).

Dugan will need to get used to the hero routine. She will have plenty more life-saving opportunities, considering she's studying to become a nurse.

Just don't expect her to brag about it.

Said Dugan: "We'll keep that on the DL."

This article appears in the February issue of Lacrosse Magazine, the flagship publication of US Lacrosse. Don't get the mag? Join US Lacrosse and its 400,000-plus members today to start your subscription.

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