‘‘I always knew I had a friend who was there for me, period. We were already close before it happened. Both of our struggles and pains have brought us together,’’ Pierre said. ‘‘The team is like a family in that sense. She has contributed to this team in so many other ways even though she can’t play. She stuck it out.’’
Rogers still has emotional moments. Naturally, she has questioned, ‘‘Why me?’’
On the tough days, Rogers opts to stay away from practice so her mood doesn’t affect her teammates. That’s not often.
‘‘You still feel some type of loneliness,’’ she said.
Rogers met regularly with a counselor, plus a tutor to help with a learning disability that makes numbers and reading comprehension that much more challenging.
‘‘I think people doubted she could do it on time, and she’s going to do it on time,’’ Boyle said.
Rogers led her high school team to state titles from 2006-08, including perfect 32-0 seasons in 2007 and ‘08. She lost only three games in her entire four-year high school career.
‘‘That’s all she ever thought she would do was play basketball,’’ her mother said. ‘‘And to not have that and still be in that surrounding, is great.’’
Cal athletic trainer Ann Caslin still walks by the defibrillator in the arena hallway and instantly goes back to that day, one she will never forget.
‘‘She’s one of those kids who comes along and you say, ‘I never will forget her,'’’ Caslin said. ‘‘She’s part of me.’’
Rogers reports to doctors at UC San Francisco every couple of weeks — and someday, she hopes, she will be well enough to no longer need her defibrillator and still lead an active lifestyle. She can exercise at low intensity, with caution.
Because of Rogers’ story, both Caslin and Gottlieb field questions from other programs dealing with similar issues.
‘‘I've really never seen her so genuinely happy. She’s an inspiration that she can take such joy in a role she never asked for and never predicted,’’ Gottlieb said. ‘‘She has turned every difficult situation into something positive. She'll forever be one of the most remarkable student-athletes having never played a single game.’’