Jennifer Hale is a common presence on the sidelines at NBA and NFL games across the nation, but a heart condition at the age of 38 nearly ended all that.
The New Orleans native and LSU alumna spoke with Women's Health Magazine about the hereditary heart condition she didn't see coming.
The athletic Hale told the magazine her symptoms began manifesting in shortness of breath, fatigue and erratic sleep patterns just weeks after a 100-mile bike ride. Later her feet began to swell. After the noticeable swelling reached her waist, she went for medical tests that eventually diagnosed her with cardiomyopathy, a heredity disorder that causes the heart to enlarge and struggle pumping blood.
Without treatment, Hale said she was told the condition would kill her within five years. She was eventually put on a transplant list and medication that helped combat the condition and reduce her heart to the normal size. While the medicine was in effect, Hale explained how she had to wear a "life vest," which constantly monitored her heart and could defribillate her if necessary.
Hale said in February, 2018, her heart was measured to be operating at 50 percent capacity -- up from 16 percent -- and she had been removed from the transplant list.
"I cried my first tears of joy in a long, long time," Hale said.
Now 40, Hale continues to work as a sideline reporter for Fox Sports, a job she's held since 2011. Hale is an LSU honors college graduate in political science and also earned a master’s degree in broadcast journalism from Northwestern University.
While at LSU, Hale also was a cheerleader, homecoming queen and Miss LSU who won the swimsuit competition in the Miss Louisiana pageant.
“Well, why not do all of it?” she said at the time, responding to those who wonder about the dichotomy of her experiences. “If you enjoy it, why not play both sides, so to speak?"
For the full report from Women's Magazine, click here.