On Monday night the Dodgers honored the 2019 Women’s College World Series National Champion UCLA Softball team before taking on the San Francisco Giants in the first game of a four-game series.
While it was a memorable experience for the entire team, the pregame events were especially significant to the Bruins’ outfielder Stevie Wisz.
Wisz shares a special connection with the Dodgers’ closer, Kenley Jansen, as both have dealt with heart conditions throughout their athletic careers.
UCLA softball outfielder Stevie Wisz opened up about her heart condition on social media. Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen reached out. Tonight, she threw the first pitch at Dodger Stadium. Jansen was behind the plate to catch it.https://t.co/Madg3DKaYT
— L.A. Times Sports (@latimessports) June 18, 2019
As many Dodgers fans would recall, Jansen was sidelined late in 2018 regular season due to atrial fibrillation. After returning following some time on the IL, he struggled on the mound, even giving up four home runs in his first three appearances back.
Jansen’s health remained a concern for the rest of the season. He’d eventually address the issues with a surgery conducted about a month after the conclusion of the World Series.
After reading about Wisz’ story in late May, Jansen related to all that she’s gone through and even reached out to her through Twitter.
The UCLA softball player mentioned to the L.A. Times that she was speechless when throwing out the first pitch and that Jansen shared with her some encouraging words as she approaches open heart surgery on Friday.
— Stevie Wisz (@StevieLynnne) June 18, 2019
The Dodgers’ reliever also turned to social media this morning to share Wisz’ story and express his support for her in her procedure later this week.
— Kenley Jansen (@kenleyjansen74) June 18, 2019
While both Jansen and Wisz have gone through very scary experiences as they’ve each dealt with their respective heart conditions, their stories are inspiring to hear.
Dodgers Nation stands with Jansen and the Dodgers as our thoughts and prayers are with Wisz as she approaches her surgery on Friday.