Chronic pain has forced Katie Borowicz to leave the game she loves.
Borowicz, the guard from Roseau who just finished her redshirt freshman season with the Gophers women's basketball team, announced that she has decided to retire for medical reasons.
"Dear basketball, the love that I have for you is beyond words,'' Borowicz said on social media Wednesday. "You've given me everything and more, but our time has come to an end. My decision to medically retire is the most difficult and painful one I've ever had to make.''
An early high school graduate who joined the Gophers midway through the 2020-21 season, Borowicz sat out last season after having surgery to relieve pressure on her brain.
Extensive testing had produced a diagnosis of Chiara malformation. Borowicz's brain was normal-sized, but her skull was too small, creating pressure that caused part of her brain to be pushed into the spinal canal, constricting the nerves and causing the formation of a cyst on her spine, producing pain down her legs.
Borowicz had surgery Nov. 1, 2022, when doctors shaved off a part of her skull at the base, cutting through tissue to relieve the pressure and allow fluid to flow more freely.
It was just last summer that Borowicz, back on the court, was expressing her hope that problem was behind her.
Ultimately, unfortunately, it was not.
Though she worked hard to manage the situation, the pain remained. "When I play, it only gets worse,'' she wrote. "I've come to associate basketball with pain. I have been struggling for the past year to push through and put a smile on my face, but my body is telling me enough.''
Borowicz appeared in 14 games, starting one, in the 2020-21 season. This past season, a team captain, she started in 17 of her 29 games, averaging 8.5 points, 3.0 assists and 2.7 rebounds.
From the team's main Twitter account, the Gophers posted: "We cannot thank @katieborowicz, our 2022-23 captain, enough for her blood, sweat and tears she poured into our program. Once a Gopher, always a Gopher."
On her social media post, Borowicz said it was hard not to feel she was disappointing people, including herself. She said it had been her dream to play for Minnesota and former coach Lindsay Whalen, who recruited her.
"I'm so fortunate to have met all the amazing human beings I now call friends,'' she said. "I also want to thank everyone who has followed my career or been a part of it. … Goodbye basketball, I'm sorry we didn't have more time.''