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March 24 marks emotional anniversary for Sisler

ESPN, SEC Network commentator lost her parents to drug overdoses 15 years ago

SEC Network viewers can catch a glimpse of Lauren Sisler’s passion for college sports every Saturday morning in the fall on SEC Nation and as a sideline reporter for SEC Network’s Friday Night Heights gymnastics coverage during the winter and spring.

Lauren Sisler
(Phil Ellsworth/ESPN Images)

While Sisler will be keeping a close eye on the SEC Gymnastics Championships this Saturday – live on SEC Network (3 p.m. ET) and ESPN2 (7 p.m.) – before joining the network’s NCAA regional and championship coverage in April, the March 24 competition date has even greater meaning to her outside of the gym.

As a freshman at Rutgers University, Sisler unexpectedly lost both of her parents, Lesley and George Sisler, to prescription drug overdoses within hours of each other on March 24, 2003. Ever since those tragic events, she has dedicated herself to educating others about the dangers of addiction.

“Fifteen years ago seems like yesterday,” Sisler said. “Not a day goes by that I don’t think about them. They were such an important part of my brother’s [Allen] and my life growing up.”

Sisler regularly speaks at schools and to other organizations in the Birmingham, Ala., area about what she has learned in the aftermath of her parents’ deaths. She serves as a board member and provides outreach for several organizations devoted to addiction prevention.”

“There was a time when I felt so hopeless and lost, but with the guidance of my aunt and uncle, Linda and Mike Rorrer, along with the continued support from family, friends, and colleagues, I have redirected my focus toward my passion in sports and advocating against addiction.

Sisler is hopeful her story can help others who are affected by addiction, and the time she’s spent on the gymnastics competition floor and in front of the camera on ESPN and SEC Network have given her the confidence to share her story publicly.

“Everyone has a story waiting to be heard,” Sisler said. “It’s the lessons we draw from those stories that can create a positive influence on the lives of others.”

The Sislers: Lauren with her parents Lesley and George Sisler and her brother Allen. (Photos courtesy of Lauren Sisler/ESPN)