Solving the mystery behind a young dancer’s nightmare
Samantha Carney has been dancing since she was three years old and couldn’t imagine life without it. Out of the blue, the 16-year-old started having problems with her legs in 2014, she and her family struggled to find answers. When Sam would dance, run or exercise, she would collapse. Her legs would cramp, go numb, and give out from under her. She had to learn to finish her dance routines on the floor and then roll herself off the stage into her dance teacher’s arms. It was devastating. And the most frustrating part was that her case stumped everyone – Sam had no idea why this was happening to her, and the numerous physicians she saw didn’t either.
One fateful day at dance practice, a Novant Health Heart and Vascular nurse named Lynn Gilman overheard Samantha’s mom, Tina, talking about her daughter's struggle. Almost immediately, it clicked. Lynn knew what she was describing: popliteal artery entrapment syndrome.
Today, Samantha is back to dancing; finishing routines proudly with her legs extended and her arms held high above her head in triumph. Here’s her story.