Mary Lou Retton Has “Alarming Setback” in Recovery From Health Battle

Mary Lou Retton, the celebrated gymnast, is currently battling a rare form of pneumonia. Her family shared on Instagram that her condition took a frightening turn for the worse. Shayla Kelly Schrepfer, Retton’s daughter, posted a video on Instagram where she shared that her mother’s health had seemed to be improving over the weekend, but took a downturn on Tuesday.

“We were so hopeful, seeing so much progress and then yesterday, we had a pretty alarming setback,” Schrepfer said. “She is still in ICU, and we’re just working through some issues related to her setback.” Schrepfer did not elaborate on the specifics of the setback but did mention that Retton had a “better day” on Wednesday, although she was “extremely fatigued.”

The family had previously made Retton’s health condition public when her other daughter, McKenna Kelley, set up a Spotfund page to help cover her mother’s medical expenses. The initial goal was to raise $50,000, but the family has far surpassed that target. As of Wednesday night, the account had raised over $450,000.

The family has expressed their gratitude for the overwhelming support they have received. Schrepfer reiterated this sentiment on Wednesday. “Just wanted to give an update and thank you all again for the support,” Schrepfer said. “I’m receiving so many messages and emails and it’s heartwarming to see people show their love for her.”

Retton became a national icon in 1984 when she became the first American woman gymnast to win gold in the individual all-around competition at the Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. She took home five medals that year and her fame skyrocketed. She shared the title of 1984’s Sportsperson of the Year by Sports Illustrated with fellow Olympic gold medalist Edwin Moses. Retton has also made appearances in several films and TV shows. In 1997, she was inducted into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame.