Claire Benschoter grew up being a multi-sport athlete. During her childhood and in her high school years, she primarily played ice hockey. She also played softball and golf and participated in track. It wasn’t until she was diagnosed with epilepsy that she truly learned how beneficial being involved in sports would be to her wellbeing. Her teammates and coaches made her feel like she wasn’t different from anybody else.
Claire’s story with epilepsy started when she was 10 years old as a 4th-grade student. Throughout the school year, she experienced what she referred to as “brain freezes.” After an EEG, MRI, and a several days stay in the hospital, she was diagnosed with absence seizures and put on her first anti-epileptic medication. Following 3 years with hundreds of breakthrough seizures, trials on multiple medications trip to the hospital, and several tonic-clonic seizures, Claire found a medication that controlled her seizures. She has been blessed to be seizure free since 2008.
Fulfilling a childhood dream of playing college athletics, Claire is a former student-athlete at the University of Iowa. Because of her athletic activities in high school, she was recruited and offered a scholarship to be a talent-transfer athlete for the women’s rowing team. While at Iowa she spent all four years of college on the women's rowing team proudly racing in the top 2 boats, achieving Academic All-BIG Ten status, capturing the performer of the year award in 2014, and helping to propel the team back into the top 15 rankings in the NCAA for the first time in over 10 years.
Currently, Claire is a nurse in the Surgical & Neuroscience ICU at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics and is working towards her MSN in Nursing Leadership and Management at the University of Mary. While epilepsy presented obstacles in Claire’s life from time to time, she has never let it stop her from achieving her goals athletically, academically, or in her career. She is humbled at the opportunity to join Athletes vs Epilepsy and is looking forward to being able to help other athletes with epilepsy recognize their potential and fulfill their goals.