Victoria Arlen stepped in for Molly Qerim on First Take earlier this week, displaying resilience after a recent health scare.
In an Instagram post during Tuesday’s show, Arlen disclosed that she had recently been hospitalized. She shared that an unspecified surgery had “taken a scary turn” and had “knocked me off my feet, to say the least.”
Arlen expressed gratitude in the caption of photos featuring her on the ESPN set and in a hospital bed, saying, “First day wearing ‘real’ clothes in a week. Thank you to the amazing nurses, docs, surgeons, and my family who took amazing care of me and helped me get back on my feet. And thank you, everyone, for your messages and prayers…it means more than you know.”
Diagnosed with two rare neurological conditions, transverse myelitis and acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, at age 11, Arlen faced a vegetative state for nearly four years. Despite slim chances of survival, she recovered and learned essential skills such as eating, speaking, and walking again.
Arlen achieved success as a swimmer, winning four medals in the 2012 Paralympics, and later became a sportscaster for ESPN at the age of 20. Her diverse career also includes appearances on Dancing with the Stars as a contestant and hosting American Ninja Warrior Junior. Remarkably, she returned to host ESPN’s popular debate show shortly after her recent hospitalization.
In a Wednesday Instagram post, Arlen reflected on facing fears and emphasized the importance of faith in overcoming challenges, stating, “Cheers to not letting the fear of what you are facing get in the way of the faith of being able to make it through. This was put to the test all last week in the hospital, and something I’m extra grateful to exemplify today.”
Wishing Victoria Arlen a happy and healthy new year.