Canadian volleyball player Claire Hanna breathes easier after winter scare

WINNIPEG – Back in February, Canadian team volleyball player Claire Hanna of Vancouver wasn’t sure she would be on court, let alone competing for a spot on the 2011 national team this week at the Frank Kennedy Centre.

The two-year national team player underwent a scary situation this past winter when she suffered a collapsed lung that was discovered after suffering chest pains at a promotional tournament in Thunder Bay. But for the past two days she’s been hard at work at the national women’s team selection camp which started Monday and runs until Thursday.

‘’Initially I just tried to walk it off and just stuck to some cardio work,’’ said Hanna, when she started feeling uncomfortable. ‘’When I got back to Winnipeg, it was still there. I saw a doctor and that’s when I was diagnosed with a collapsed lung.’’

The 25-year-old former UBC star player was rushed to hospital where she underwent surgery. Doctors were forced to cut off part of her lung to help it function properly. She stayed in hospital for a week, was back on court about three weeks later and resumed full time training six weeks later.

‘’The doctors told me that I would make a full recovery but I was worried this season would be compromised,’’ she said. ‘’I’m pretty happy with how I’ve come back. It was only a few months ago I was full of tubes and being stuck with needles.’’

One of the big steps for Hanna was on Monday during the physical testing. She underwent intense cardio exercises and memories of her February mishap returned. ‘’I really had to push my lungs to the limit,’’ she said. ‘’I got some similar feelings to when the lung was collapsed but the doctor told me that could happen at times and I just kept that in mind. The tests went super well.’’

Hanna plays the Libero position, which she describes as similar to a goalie in hockey. She was named the 2010 Libero of the year in Canadian university volleyball and the top Libero in the Canada West conference in 2009 and 2010.

‘’I have to make sure the ball never hits the ground,’’ Hanna said. ‘’It’s a position that requires a lot of focus. You have to dig and pass and you’re always at the heart of the game. I’ve really found my groove at that position.’’

Hanna grew up in Calgary before heading back west again to attend UBC where she recently completed her Masters in business. She started playing volleyball in high school and was also a nationally ranked badminton player at the age group level.

In addition to the selection of the Senior Women’s Team, the developmental ‘B Team’ will be chosen at this selection camp. The B Team will train in Winnipeg throughout July and compete on behalf of Canada in the 2011 World Universiade Games in Shenzhen China from Aug 12-23.

The camp’s sessions are in the Frank Kennedy Centre’s Brown and Gold Gym and continues Wednesday, May 18: 9am – 6pm Thursday, May 19: 9 – 11:30am and 3 – 6pm.

For more information please contact: Kevin Parsons Phone – (204)474-6645 Email –

Participating Athletes: Nadine Alphonse (QC, Université de Montreal), Simone Asque (IL, University of Virginia), Lisa Barclay (MB, University of British Columbia), Carla Bradstock (BC, University of British Columbia), Lucy Charuk (BC, University of Houston), Vanessa Chorkawy (ON, Lakehead University), Beth Clark (SK, University of Regina), Elizabeth Cordonier (BC, University of British Columbia), Dana Cranston (BC, Colorado State University), Tiffany Dodds (SK, University of Alberta), Jaclyn Ellis (ON, University of Alberta), Kelsie English (ON, University of Ottawa), Marisa Field (BC, University of British Columbia), Kelci French (AB, University of Alberta), Janie Guimond (QC, Université de Montreal), Brooke Halvorsen (BC, University of Calgary), Claire Hanna (AB, University of British Columbia), Jennifer Hinze (BC, University of British Columbia), Tasha Holness (AB, University of Alberta), Kristi Hunter (MB, University of Manitoba), Noemie Lefebvre (QC, Syracuse University), Alexandra Lojen (QC, University of Montreal), Tammy Mahon (MB, University of Manitoba), Shanice Marcelle (BC, University of British Columbia), Katie Matthews (ON, Queen’s University), Tricia Mayba (MB, University of Manitoba), Colette Meek-Johnson (AB, Arizona State University), Marie-Pier Murray-Methot (QC, Universite de Montreal), Alexandra Lojen (QC, University of Montreal), Tonya Mokelki (SK, Colorado State University), Sarah Moncks (AB, University of Calgary), Daphnee Andre-Morin (QC, McGill University), Marie-Sophie Nadeau (QC, University of Montreal), Lauren O’Reilly (BC, Trinity Western University), Coleen Ogilvie (AB, Queen’s University), Brittney Page (BC, Eastern Washington University), Tanya Paulin (NB, University of New Brunswick), Sarah Pavan (ON, University of Nebraska), Alicia Perrin (BC, Trinity Western College), Malena Rapaport (BC, University of Toronto), Michaela Ressor (ON, Samford University), Kyla Richey (BC, University of British Columbia), Lauren Sears (NS, University of Winnipeg), Michelle Sweeting (SK, University of Regina), Jaimie Thibeault (AB, University of Montana), Amy Toews (MB, University of Manitoba), Tesca Andrew-Wasylik (ON, Wilfrid Laurier University), Julie Young (AB, University of Calgary), Marisa Field (BC, University of British Columbia), Sarah Moncks (AB, University of Calgary), Brooke Halvorsen (BC, University of Calgary), Krista Zubick (AB, University of Alberta).