Athlete of the Week: NMB’s Farmer provides healthy lift

North Myrtle Beach forward India Farmer was getting ready for a big junior season, but her body was not on board.

After suffering from severe fatigue, Farmer knew something wasn’t right. As it turned out, she was suffering from severe anemia, a condition caused by a lack of iron in the blood that can be life-threatening.

“I noticed it for months but I just kind of ignored it,” Farmer said. “It got to where I had trouble just walking up the stairs without getting out of breath. Finally I told my dad, ‘I’ve got to go to the doctor.’ ”

The serious diagnosis proved to be a minor setback for Farmer, who followed the doctor’s orders and missed only the first two weeks of the season. From eating iron-rich foods like liver and fresh vegetables and taking medication, she did whatever it took to get back on the court to help her team.

“I was afraid I wasn’t going to be able to play but I did everything I was supposed to do – eating food and taking medicine that tasted horrible,” Farmer said. “The whole time I just focused on getting healthy and getting back on the court.”

Farmer, whose dream has always been to play college basketball at North Carolina, missed the Lady Chiefs’ first three games of the season. She admits it took some time for her to get back into basketball shape but as the season progressed, so did her game.

“She had some pretty serious health issues that we were afraid would keep her from playing, but she did everything she was supposed to do,” North Myrtle Beach coach Jude Hunt. “She came back healthy and she’s made a big difference for us.”

Hunt isn’t surprised by Farmer’s quick recovery. She puts in the work that’s required to get the desired results, he said.

“India is what many coaches would refer to as a gym-rat,” Hunt said. “She is constantly looking to get in the gym and shoot-around or play some pick-up games.  Her obsession to work on her game has helped her to develop in to a very versatile player that can do it all, from taking care of the blue-collar work as our leading rebounder to nailing a nice smooth jumper from the corner, or even handling the ball on the perimeter.”

“She is the heart-beat of our team. When she is on, our team becomes a strong force to deal with.”

Over the last four outings, Farmer has averaged a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds per game, including a 15-board effort in the Lady Chiefs’ win over Myrtle Beach in the regular-season finale. It was their first win over the two-time defending state champion Lady Seahawks since the 2004-05 season.

“It’s been a long time coming,” said Farmer, who was a fourth-grader the last time the Lady Chiefs beat their arch rivals. “It gives us a lot of momentum going into the playoffs. Maybe we’re peaking at the right time.”

And perhaps the same can be said for Farmer. As the Lady Chiefs prepare to face Bluffton on Monday, Farmer and North Myrtle Beach hope to show they are all the way back.

“I’m still not at 100 percent because, at this point, I don’t even know what 100 percent feels like,” Farmer said. “I’ve been trying to push through it and hopefully it will happen soon.”

Photo by Digital Magic Photo

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