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Katherine Marchesseault poses with a soccer ball under her arm

Northeastern soccer player, accident victim hopes to inspire in ‘Good Morning America’ appearance

A horrific car crash nearly took her leg. Now, Northeastern soccer star Katherine Marchesseault will thank the people who saved it in a TV appearance from Times Square. Photo by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University

Northeastern second-year student Katherine Marchesseault is an integral part of Northeastern’s women’s soccer team.

But three years ago this month, she was nowhere near a soccer field. Instead, she was at Shriners Children’s Boston, recovering from a horrific accident and wondering if she would ever play soccer—or walk—again.

Now, after a remarkable recovery and comeback to the sport, the defender from North Andover, Massachusetts, will thank the people who made that happen—in a big way. She’ll appear on ABC’s “Good Morning America” at 8:30 a.m. (Eastern Time) Friday to help celebrate the 100th anniversary of Shriners Children’s, a group of nonprofit hospitals with locations across North America.

Headshot of Katherine Marchesseault holding a soccer ball (left), close up headshot of Katherine Marchesseault (middle), Katherine Marchesseault leans against a soccer goal post with a soccer ball under her foot (right)
“I didn’t know if I would ever be walking again, running again, let alone kicking a soccer ball,” Marchesseault says. “They really gave me the opportunity to still be able to play the sport that I love, so I just couldn’t be more grateful for them.” Photos by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University

“I didn’t know if I would ever be walking again, running again, let alone kicking a soccer ball,” Marchesseault says. “They really gave me the opportunity to still be able to play the sport that I love, so I just couldn’t be more grateful for them.” 

Marchesseault acts as the national patient ambassador for Shriners, a role that she accepted without hesitation in May. As an ambassador, she gets to travel, meet new people and share her story to help promote the work that Shriners does.

“They’re the most amazing organization,” she says. “The work that they do for kids is incredible and they save so many lives.”

She certainly has a lot to be grateful for. In September 2019, Marchesseault was a high schooler who dreamed of competing in soccer at the Division 1 level. Then, she was involved in a single-vehicle crash that left her with a severe burn on her left leg and several broken bones. She could have lost the leg; instead, her care team at Shriners managed to save it over the course of a month of treatment that included seven surgeries and a skin graft. 

When she reflects on that time, she remembers how difficult it was for her physically. But she also remembers how comfortable she was at Shriners. “You actually don’t feel like you’re in a hospital,” she says. “It’s such a calming presence when you’re in there … that is what made it so easy for me.” 

Less than two months after leaving the hospital, she was already back on the field in a high school game —scoring two goals—with her biggest cheerleaders behind her. “The support I had from my family and friends that day will be unmatched throughout my life,” she says.

Now, she has found new family in the Northeastern women’s soccer team. “I can’t wait to see how much I grow not only as a soccer player, but as a human being from being around those people,” she says. There’s talk among her teammates of hosting a watch party for her GMA appearance.

When Marchesseault appears on GMA, she’ll be joined by Shriners Chief of Staff Dr. Robert Sheridan, and patients and representatives of the hospital will make appearances outside the Times Square studio. 

She also appears in a 30-minute TV special, hosted by Kristen Bell, that highlights the history of Shriners and the care it has provided for over a million children over the past century. Miracles, Magic and Milestones will air on ABC stations and Hulu starting Friday.

“This television event is our opportunity to share our story with the world—the story of how Shriners Children’s has been a driving force in shaping pediatric specialty care for 100 years,” Jerry Gantt, chairman of the Shriners Board of Trustees said, in a statement.

Shriners will also air commercial spots during the show, and ads will appear on the Super Sign in Times Square.

Marchesseault hopes that her appearance will help promote the hospital’s work, but also that her story will inspire others.

“You truly can do anything,” she says. “Keep pushing forward and don’t ever give up.”

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