Guard Lexie Brown joined the Los Angeles Sparks in 2022 after she helped the Chicago Sky win the 2021 WNBA Championship (Amanda Scurlock/L.A. Sentinel)

Guard Lexie Brown was hitting her stride with the Los Angeles Sparks in 2023 when she was suddenly sidelined with an illness.

“I was keeping journals last year during training camp and throughout the beginning of the season,” Brown said. “When I was looking back … I was not feeling well from the beginning of training camp.”

She only played 12 games, averaging 12.4 points; she also matched her career high of 26 points in an overtime 99-93 victory against the Phoenix Mercury.

Brown was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, which is a form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) where tissues of the digestive tract become inflamed. She was unsure if she wanted to share her Crohn’s diagnosis until she competed in Athletes Unlimited (AU) earlier this year.

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Athlete’s Unlimited digital reporter Savanna Collins had a sit-down interview with Brown about her experiences. Collins also has Crohn’s disease.

Brown (4) is averaging 9.0 points, 2.8 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game this season (Amanda Scurlock/L.A. Sentinel)

“We had so many similar stories and hardships so it was nice to be able to talk through that with her,” Brown said. “Also, it was nice to lay it out on the table because for so long I didn’t have answers for people and that was kind of hard to deal with.”

After the interview, Brown received an outpouring of support and well-wishes. New Orleans Pelicans forward Larry Nance Jr. also reached out to Brown. Nance Jr. was diagnosed with Crohn’s at 16 and helped create the non-profit organization Athletes vs Crohn’s & Colitis (AvC).

“That’s really cool the video reached him,” Brown said. “I’m hoping we can work together in the future with his foundation.”

Brown has since been working to bring more awareness to Crohn’s disease. While competing for AU, Brown played for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation. She finished her AU season in the Top 10 with 4310 points. She averaged 12.61 points per game.

Brown also serves as the chairperson of the AU Pro Basketball Player Executive Committee.

This WNBA season, Brown is a main contributor to the Sparks offense averaging 9.0 points and 3.5 assists per game. She earned a season-high of 20 points when the Sparks defeated the Washington Mystics 70-68 on May 21.

Brown mentioned how she not only wants to bring more awareness to the disease but also inspire people.

“It’s not an easy thing to deal with,” Brown said. “My hope is to be able to show people that it’s something that you can live an active and happy life with.”