When you watch Huntington Beach, Calif. native, Mika Ikemori compete on a tennis court, it’s easy to see why this nationally-ranked player has produced such a strong junior career.

But it’s her story off the court that is catching people’s attention these days. At the age of 9, Ikemori was diagnosed with a chronic epileptic seizure disorder.

“My first epileptic seizure occurred at Rusty Miller Tennis Center. I was walking out of the parking lot. I was one of the last kids there because I wanted to stay and play some extra mixed doubles. And I don’t know what happened next.”

Ikemori's father, Todd Eversgerd, was right next to her when she experienced an epileptic seizure for the first time.

“When she finished we were walking out to the parking lot. I realized she was not walking next to me and I looked behind. I could tell she was struggling,” he recalls. “Her face was contorted and she was kind of like tensed up and I knew she was going to fall over.Luckily I caught her. I was freaking out. I literally thought she was dying.”

Her mother Lynn Ikemori remembers this day like it was yesterday.

“My husband I remember calling me. He was frantic,” she recounts. “And then when I got there, she was awake but we did not know what happened. We took her to the emergency room and they ended up making us get lots of tests after that. That’s when we found out that she had her seizure disorder.”

Ikemori will suit up for UC Davis in the fall on a full tennis scholarship.

 Ikemori will suit up for UC Davis in the fall on a full tennis scholarship. 


After consulting with doctors, Ikemori's family quickly learned that epileptic seizures are a chronic disorder that has no cure and this would be something she would have to deal with the rest of her life. And while the epileptic seizures themselves are not life threatening, the environment in which she has them are the real danger as Ikemori's brother Ike described.

“The fall is generally more dangerous than the actual seizure because if she is standing or if she is walking down the street if she falls she could hit her head and that could make it a lot worse,” he says.

Her father and entire family have to be constantly aware of Ikemori's surroundings 24 hours a day in hopes of preventing a catastrophic fall. But through it all, Ikemori's never stopped playing the sport she has loved since she was a child. Her biggest obstacles on a court these days is her medication which can directly affect her game.

“My game is setting up points and taking time off of players. And when I am in a fog and the medication is affecting me or the seizures are affecting me. I am just kind of trying to get the ball in,” she explains. “I don’t know what I am doing anymore. My body is there but my mind is clouded.”

Now in her senior year at Marina High School, she has accepted a full scholarship to play tennis at UC Davis next year under the guise of coach Bill Maze.

“I watched her at the Southern California sectionals and she wrote me and told me immediately about her seizure disorder. And I was so impressed with that, it never crossed my mind not to recruit her because she had this issue,” Maze shares.

“As a matter of fact it made me want to recruit her more.”