COLUMBIA- At a young age one Missouri athlete learned to approach the game of softball a little differently
Kallie Smith dreams of playing college softball. But just under a year ago, an accident interrupted that dream.
Her life changed forever on a sunny day at second base for the Crocker Lady Lions.
Smith positioned herself under a pop fly but lost the ball in the sun. The softball missed her glove and hit her directly in the eye.
"I passed out and I was taken to Lake Regional Hospital and they immediately transferred me to Columbia because of the hyphema they couldn't do anything about it," Smith said.
In addition to blowing out her pupil, the ball fractured Smith's orbital and sinus cavities. She underwent surgeries but still never regained vision in her left eye.
From that point forward, Smith focused on getting better.
"So, I was kind of home bound on bed rest. I couldn't watch TV, I basically just had to sit there and do nothing all day," Smith said. "It was definitely harder on the emotional side than it was the physical side."
Once she could get out on the diamond she realized things had changed.
"There's more things I do that I didn't have to think about what I did now I have to actually think about it to do it like softball. Like fielding a ground ball, now I really have to think about it and focus more.
Defying the odds, Smith still wants to play softball in college.
Justin Smith, Kallie's dad, said "She stayed focused it was really hard for her at first we could tell she was struggling," he said. "Basically, trying to relearn the game with one less eye which is hard to do. You see everything different- depth perception is different. But she stayed focused, kept working, working, and working and here we are still doing it we're really proud of her."
Now 17-years-old, Smith already knows where she wants to end up after high school.
"I want to play at Lincoln University in Jefferson City, or Westminister in Fulton Missouri."