Double lung transplant recipient Michelle Green ready for Progressive Field spotlight

Double lung transplant recipient at a Tribe game before her illness

Double lung transplant recipient at a Tribe game before her illness

When Michelle Green received a double lung transplant on July 20, 2012, she hung photos from her softball days on the wall along her hospital bedside. Her goal was to overcome Cystic Fibrosis and return to the softball field, where she once could play catch and run around the bases with ease.

Although Green is not yet able to participate fully in softball activities, she will be making her return to Progressive Field on Monday. Green will be in attendance as the Indians take on the Royals in the opener of a three-game series.

Green, 24, grew up playing soccer, basketball, softball and hockey. Her spot on Ohio State’s club hockey team has undoubtedly been the highlight of her athletic career thus far.

Severe diabetes, multiple pneumonias, a collapsed lung and numerous hospitalizations – all the result of her Cystic Fibrosis — led to Green’s double-lung transplant, and ultimately halted her athletic career, said Marie M. Budev, Medical Director of the Lung and Heart Transplant Program at the Cleveland Clinic.

“When I first got the transplant, I was able to do things activity-wise; I kept pretty upbeat [because of] that,” Green said. “The longer you go, the harder it is because I identified myself as an athlete (and I was slowing down). I watched my body waste away, and as an athlete, that’s hard to do.”

The transplant was made possible through organ donation, which Dr. Budev and Green emphasized as vitally important for more to consider.

“She has always been an athletic little girl. It was her disease that stopped her,” Budev said. “What saved her and the message she wants to pass on is she is here and able to do all these great things because there was an organ donor and a family that consented to giving this gift.”

Green has come a long way in her recovery and is now pursuing a double major in athletic training and exercise science at Baldwin Wallace.

“Since I was so active — I love watching, coaching and playing — I was looking for something to stay in that kind of arena,” Green said. “Going through some injuries of my own, I got into the therapy part of it and the rehab. I thought that was neat to help everybody come back from an injury and take care of them.”

Aside from attending a few Lake Erie Monsters games and Columbus Blue Jackets games, Green and her father watch every Tribe game from the hospital.

Green said she enjoys staying at the Cleveland Clinic because they have big screen televisions in every room.

“I have been an Indians fan my whole life,” Green said. “Lou Marson is one of my favorites, but he’s hurt. The whole team is great and fun to watch.”

–TribeVibe contributor Megan Golden

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