The Pride of Tuttle Subtle Role Change
Second base player Shelby Carel, 8, throws the ball during a softball game at the University of Central Oklahoma. (Provided/ UCO Photo Services).
Frayed rotator cuff, Dislocated shoulder, 70 percent tear. Those are the words Shelby Carel heard during a doctor’s visit following an accident during practice.
“I could tell something was wrong with it,” Carel said. “I was kind of preparing myself for the worst.”
During the team’s practice on April 17th, the team was doing fielding drills. Carel, covering second base, eyed an incoming ground ball as she dove, stretching out her arm to catch her. But, as she dove her momentum pushed her forward, dislocating her shoulder. Carel went to the doctor to have an MRI done, a routine she went through in high school after tearing her labrum her senior year.
The doctor was shocked. He immediately asked if she had dislocated her shoulder between now and her last surgery to repair her shoulder. After saying no, the doctor responded by saying the damage in her shoulder was equivalent to someone dislocating his or her shoulder 10 times.
Following her surgery on May 16th, the surgeon went over the repercussions of possibly hurting her shoulder again. Another injury would result in a having to completely restructure Carel’s shoulder.
Carel said she wanted to come back and play, but the news was hard to take. If she decided to come back the recovery time would force her to miss the entire fall to prepare for the upcoming season.
“It was just really upsetting to me, knowing and having the possibility that I’m never probably going to play again,” Carel said.
Head Coach Cody White called Carel to see how she was feeling and making sure she was recovering well, while also presenting her with two options. He said she could come back and play for the team, or she could accept the position of student assistant.
Carel wanted more time to think. She prayed, talked with family members and friends and the answer was unanimous. She had played her last softball game ever.
Even though she will no longer be playing, Carel said she is excited to still be a part of the team by staying on as a student assistant.
“It was really nice and really cool of my coaches and the coaching staff to find a way to keep me on the team even though I wasn’t going to get to play,” Carel said. “If it were any other program or any other situation like this they would probably just cut their scholarship.”
Carel will help with team building, and handle the more personal side of things, but she will get a better understanding of her responsibilities when the season approaches.
“I really admire them for finding a way to keep me on the team,” Carel said.