By Barron Demons
Samantha Reid started playing “Wee-Ball” at age two and fell in love with the game. Reid was eventually plagued by injuries and made the decision to leave the sport she loves. N
ow a sophomore at Pensacola State College, (PSC) Reid has decided to pursue a medical degree.
Reid started playing in a church league until she was six. She made her way to the Northeast Pensacola Youth Baseball and Softball (NEP) league at seven and became a well-rounded softball player. While at NEP, she played for travel teams Extreme Heat and Panhandle Extreme all while attending middle school at Beulah Academy of Science.
Catcher became Reid’s primary position, but it started in an unusual way.
“My first year at that big park [NEP] I actually broke my thumb from the tip to the joint and spilt the bone in half,” said Reid. She wasn’t able to be on the field, so her coaches made her stand behind home plate and retrieve the unhit balls. She spent that time thinking about becoming a catcher and it would eventually become her new and favorite position.
Reid’s knee injury was the next injury that forced her to sit out from playing softball.
“During an all-star tournament when I was about 10, it had been raining. I went to cut the corner of second base rounding to third, but I slipped on the base and when I fell, I dislocated my knee.”
The injury eventually healed, but Reid now has arthritis in her right knee.
In eighth grade, she had another injury that cracked her shoulder blade. Reid was a softball player practicing with baseballs in a batters cage and there was a mix-up between the type of pitch thrown.
“I was warming up with baseballs with one of my coaches, who usually coaches baseball, and he threw a pitch to me. He told me it was a curveball, but it was a screwball and it came right at me.”
Reid was taught to drop her bat and turn her back to the ball if a pitch looked as if it was coming directly towards her. “It nailed me in the back of my shoulder blade and cracked it.” Reid didn’t have surgery and was able let the injury heal naturally.
Junior year was the year that ultimately decided Reid’s softball career while attending West Florida High school.
She was ready to take on any adversity to play softball in college. She began to increase her workouts and practice routines but during one of her practices at the school, she felt discomfort in her shoulder and visited her athletic trainer and received bad news.
“She [athletic trainer] thought I had tore my labrum.” Reid went in for an MRI after speaking with her athletic trainer. “I didn’t tear it completely. . . but I tore every other ligament that held my shoulder in place.”
After hearing the bad news, Reid consulted with others to decide what she should do.
“It was my mom and doctor that was worried about me hurting myself to a bigger extent. I definitely didn’t want to quit.” After seeing her doctor in January, Reid was granted permission to play again in May, but by August, she was feeling discomfort in her shoulder again. After trying to fight through the pain, Reid finally convinced herself that her softball career was over.
Reid wasn’t able to live out her dream of playing softball in college and in the pros, so she chose to alter her route to something she was familiar with.
“Being constantly in the doctor’s office is what made me decide to go the medical route. Anatomy and broken bones started to interest me the more I looked at my x-rays.”
With her frequent visits to the doctor, Reid has decided to give up her softball career and start her journey to become an orthopedic surgeon.