Mary Lou Retton Suffers a ‘Scary Setback’ in Pneumonia Battle
Gymnast Mary Lou Retton is still fighting for her life after suffering a serious setback in her battle against a rare form of pneumonia.
The 55-year-old Olympic hero has been in intensive care since early October, and while her daughters offered up hope on Saturday (Oct. 14), they now say Retton had a "pretty scary setback" this week.
- Retton became the first American to win individual all-around gold in gymnastics when she edged out Ecaterina Szabo at the 1984 Summer Olympics.
- Her daughters revealed her battle with pneumonia last week.
- Retton is not insured, but a Spotfund campaign raised over $450,000 for her medical bills.
Shayla Kelley Schrepfer — Retton's oldest daughter — was composed and straight-forward in a video update offered on Wednesday evening (Oct. 18).
"She (Retton) is still in ICU and we're just working through some things as far as her setback goes," the 28-year-old says.
"She had a better day today ... (she is) just really, really exhausted."
Earlier, Schrepfer had said her mother's breathing was becoming stronger and she wasn't relying on machines as much. "Her fighting spirit is truly shining!" she wrote then.
What Is Wrong With Mary Lou Retton?
Retton's family hasn't shared the exact form of pneumonia the former gymnast has, but in revealing the news, her second daughter McKenna Kelley said that it was rare and she was "fighting for her life."
"She is not able to breathe on her own. She's been in the ICU for over a week now," Kelley said on Oct. 10.
The gymnast's personal Instagram notes that she has four daughters in total, but she has not posted since Sept. 29. It's been an up and down battle for her this month, as this latest update comes less than a week after Schrepfer said, "Mom's progress is truly remarkable! Prayers have been felt and have been answered."
Who Is Mary Lou Retton?
Anyone over 40 likely knows of Retton and her accomplishments, but those younger can consider her the original Simone Biles. Her win at the 1984 Summer Olympics was as dramatic as it was improbable. She'd just had knee surgery a few weeks before the games and need perfect 10 scores on the final two individual events to beat Szabo by 0.05 points.
After the Olympics, Retton would continue to compete until her retirement from the sport in 1986. She'd then become a popular spokesperson for various products, attend the University of Texas and eventually sports broadcasting.
Her most recent high-profile TV appearance was in 2018 when she was on Dancing With the Stars. Country radio host Bobby Bones would win that season.