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Kassidy Smith Forgoes Softball Season For Medical Career

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(Photo by Ian Livingston Brooking)

As a child, Kassidy Smith’s favorite subject in school was always science. Thus, when she started college in 2017 at Coastal Carolina University, she knew she wanted to pursue a career in the science field that involved her love for helping others.

“I've always been the person who tells my friends that they can come to me anytime they need me for anything,” Smith said. “I always want to help people out. So, I felt that just having that love for science and the drive and the passion for helping others, just, it made sense to go into the medical field.”

After her senior season at Coastal Carolina was cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic, Smith chose not to pursue another year of college softball eligibility, which the NCAA provided to all student-athletes who lost out on the spring season. Instead, she graduated and moved to St. Louis to work at an urgent care facility. Beginning in August, she started treating patients with COVID-19.

Though her college softball career didn't end the way she imagined it would, Smith certainly left her mark on Coastal Carolina's program. As a Chanticleer, she was named to the 2019 Sun Belt All-Tournament team. During her playing career, she posted numbers that made her rank fourth all-time on the program’s home run list  with 38 and first all-time in walks with 118. Off the field, she was the president of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). Her commitment to both her team and her academic accomplishments helped lead to her being nominated for the NCAA Woman of the Year award.

“Just to be able to be nominated on that list of however many amazing women throughout the NCAA that were nominated is just such an amazing opportunity,” Smith said. “And I could not be more thankful for the opportunity to represent my school and my team. It's just such an honor.”

Without college softball in her life, Smith is pursuing another passion these days: coaching. She got her first taste of coaching during her college summers with her involvement in youth softball. Now, she's the head coach of a 10U youth softball team in an effort to keep the game in her life. Her team features a coaching staff that includes her father Jason Smith, Villanova senior outfielder Sarah Hangsleben and other college softball players.

As a catcher at Coastal Carolina, Smith believes the position gave her insight into the coaching side of the game. As a result, she's worked primarily with the pitchers and catchers on her travel team.

“As catchers, we always have to be the leaders of the field and we tell everyone what to do,” Smith said. “So I think just the years of me watching everything unfold in front of me just helps me with the aspect of teaching them different things.”

Smith plans to apply to physician assistant programs after this year. She said her time as a student-athlete and as a coach has helped prepare her for her future career.

“I feel like catching definitely prepares you for a lot of things in life, as well as softball in general,” Smith said. “Softball just all around helps you with so many life lessons, leadership skills and communication skills—all of the stuff we need for life.”

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