CENTERTON -- Emily Roberson truly believes she was meant to have a spot on Bentonville West's first softball team.
The sophomore had the talent and the credentials. In her last at-bat last season, her pinch-hit home run lifted Bentonville to the Class 7A state championship game.
At A Glance
SCHOOL Bentonville West
POSITION Designated player/first base/third base
NOTABLE Currently ranks second on the team with 22 RBIs after driving in a run in Tuesday’s victory over Fayetteville and entered that game with one home run and a .394 batting average. … Had a memorable last at-bat at Bentonville, where her pinch-hit two-run home run against Rogers High lifted the Lady Tigers to the Class 7A state championship game last year. … Had knee surgery on June 28, then had complications that eventually led to a week at Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock and several tests performed.
On The Web
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However, she almost didn't get that opportunity. She had to overcome a scary situation during the offseason -- one that could have killed her -- and it has made Roberson treasure the opportunity she has this spring even more.
"It's something I have learned from," Roberson said. "Everything happens for a reason. Now that I'm on this team and see all these amazing people on this team, it was like I was meant to be here. I was meant to come to this school and experience this."
Roberson had surgery on June 28 to remove some plica, which is a ridge or fold of the tissues lining the knee joint. Everything seemed fine at first, but she started experiencing some pain in her leg during the Fourth of July weekend and a trip to the hospital ensued.
It was then she found out she had deep vein thrombosis -- blood clots primarily found in the legs -- and pulmonary embolisms, another type of blood clot, in her chest. It was serious enough that she was flown to Arkansas Children's Hospital in Little Rock, where several tests were done.
"My leg had turned purple and was so swollen that I could barely move," Roberson said. "I stayed there for about a week. Medically speaking, the pulmonary embolism that went straight through my heart was supposed to kill me instantly, and there's no medical reason for me to still be alive. So they were trying to figure out why I even got the blood clots, why I was still alive.
"Honestly, I was like 'what is a blood clot?' I knew my cousin had one, and I didn't get the full idea of what it was because they were throwing around all these medical terminologies. My mom finally broke it down because she's in the medical field, and I was like 'I could have died from this.'"
One of the tests Roberson had done was a magnetic resonance venography (MRV), which is used to visualize veins in a body. She was given a clicker to use as a type of panic button, and she clicked it at first when she started feeling a little light-headed. Moments later, she experienced chest pains and trouble breathing, so she clicked it again several times.
Roberson was removed from the machine, and doctors found her body completely swollen and covered with hives and rashes, and her throat was beginning to close. She was having an allergic reaction to the test.
"I had 10 doctors and nurses around me,"Roberson said. "They were trying to pump me with steroids and trying to get me under control. It was an eventful week, you could say.
"Something I could take away from it is the fact I became part of a research study. It's something that can go on to help other kids that have what I had."
Something else that was discovered that one of Roberson's lungs is smaller than the other. She also has a condition that causes her to struggle with breathing, especially when she's climbing stairs or running several wind sprints, and she does breathing exercises on a daily basis.
Roberson, however, still wanted to play softball. When West coach Anthony Cantrell held his first team tryout, she quickly wrote him a message because she hadn't been medically cleared from her surgery, and that caught his attention.
"She loves softball, and she told me about the home run she hit in the semifinal game," Cantrell said. "I told her that we'll wait for her to get cleared. When she was cleared, she could come and try out, and everything will be all right.
"When she was cleared, it was obvious she can swing it pretty good. She has a little different arm slot than a lot of kids, but she has a strong arm."
Roberson's situation has caused her to be mainly limited to the role of designated player, which means she hits but doesn't play the field. She entered Tuesday's game against Fayetteville with a .394 batting average with one home run and 21 RBIs -- good for second on the team -- and she went 1-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored in West's 16-2 victory.
More importantly, she brings an energy and an attitude that the Lady Wolverines need in their inaugural year.
"The first thing I probably noticed about her is her smile and how happy, and how energetic she seems during practice and during games," Cantrell said. "She has an infectious smile. She's just a super good kid, and outside of that, she's a pretty good softball player.
"She's just so Emily. She's a good teammate and seems to be happy out there all the time, and she sends that to her other teammates as well."
Sports on 04/20/2017
Print Headline: West-bound, but not down