Tulsa's Kassidy Scott Battles Her Body To Live Softball Dream
Kassidy Scott had no idea she was pitching with a 10-centimeter tumor in her back when she was preparing to begin her sophomore season with Texas Tech. Dealing with constant pain was nothing out of the ordinary for Scott, who shrugged it off as the price of being an athlete. That is, until one day when it became unbearable for her.
“I had been having really bad abdominal pain and lightheadedness,” Scott said. “I ended up passing out, which caused (the doctors) to do a multitude of tests, which in turn made us find the tumor, which is about the size of two limes.”
Luckily, after a biopsy, the tumor proved to be benign and won’t have to be removed for now. Though further investigation led Scott and her doctors to find out she has a pars defect, where discs in her back touch bone on bone.
“Ever since I got to college, I have experienced severe back pain, but I’ve just battled through it with modifications to (my) workouts along with epidurals every couple of months,” Scott said.
As her medical issues seemed to subside, Scott made a change when she saw an opportunity to play for her dream school, the University of Tulsa. After a successful junior year leading the American Athletic Conference and ranking 13th in the nation with five saves, COVID-19 took away her senior year, which was supposed to be her last go at softball ever.
However, if it wasn’t for the chance to come back and play another season due to receiving an extra year of eligibility, Scott may have never found out about another underlying health condition. Through a mandatory physical done before the start of each season, Scott was diagnosed with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome. This is a condition in which there is an extra electrical pathway in the heart that leads to periods of rapid heart rate.
“I have had it my whole life, I just never knew about it because symptoms don’t really show until your early twenties,” Scott said. “So they did an EKG and it came back as abnormal.”
After speaking with several doctors, it was decided that Scott needed to have a procedure done to block the abnormal electrical signals in her heart to restore it to a normal rhythm, as she was suddenly showing symptoms of a rapid heart rate. With a recovery time of three days, she was ready to gear up for the season, but it slowed her down immensely.
“After the three days were up, I started getting back into normal activity as tolerated,” Scott said. “As far as playing goes, I was out a couple weeks due to this, and it has delayed me getting to be game ready. I still get short of breath and fatigued pretty easily. So right now, (I am) working my way back to pitching by building up my endurance and throwing as much as I can.”
As Scott has adjusted to figuring out her medical diagnoses, she hasn’t lost her determination to be a successful player in the circle for one second. Her outlook on life and softball have changed, and if anything, this experience has brought her closer to her teammates and the game she loves.
“(My teammates) have been amazing,” Scott said. “They are so thoughtful and helpful. They always ask me how I’m feeling and understand my limitations. They know how to push me, but also how to motivate me. Without them, I don’t think I would have been able to get through a lot of the things that I have.”