Danni, like many young people, was a very busy teenager involved in anything she could get her hands on as she was trying to figure out the direction her life would take. Besides her love of soccer, one of the activities she took in between her junior and senior years of high school was a mission trip where she was truly immersed in the life and culture of Ecuador. The trip allowed her a small amount of free time outside of official activities, and she spent this exploring the beautiful landscape of the Andes Mountains.
While hiking one of the local trails, a sudden landslide swept Danni off the side of a large cliff, sending her falling 200 feet to the jungle below. She remembers little about the accident, only a brief panic from the landslide and then waking up on the jungle floor. She was rushed to the nearest hospital and underwent a number of procedures to save her life. The fall had broken her T-4 vertebrae resulting in a spinal cord injury, rendering her paralyzed from the chest down. A number of her ribs were broken as well, resulting in a punctured lung requiring the insertion of a chest tube to drain the excess air and fluid. She spent a long time in rehab, meeting doctors and trainers alike. One in particular, who had helped her through the process, intrigued her and she later learned from her mother that he was a clinical pharmacist. She had been interested in the medical field for some time but wasn’t very enthusiastic about having to work around bodily fluids all the time. In pharmaceuticals, however, this wouldn’t be a problem.
Danni finished out high school in the top 20 of her class before advancing to McMurry University in Abilene to pursue a degree in Science and Biochemistry. From there, she attended pharmacy school at Texas Tech and graduated at the top of her class. Today she works as a clinical pharmacist at the local, V.A. Spinal Cord Unit, assisting wounded veterans with injuries similar to her own.
Seeking more athletic activities, Danni visited the University of Texas at Arlington’s Expo for adaptive sports. While there, she caught wind of the Dive Pirates Foundation, and immediately expressed interest in becoming our newest recipient. We hope to see her out on the waves soon!
Danni will be learning to dive with her brother Ryan Mann.