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Accident Unifies Softball Team

The Bluefield College women’s softball team has a new dynamic as a result of a frightening traffic accident that occurred on April 15, 2017.

Student Marketing Associate Whitney Browning

May 10, 2017



On the way back to campus following a doubleheader against Union College in Barbourville, Kentucky, one van transporting team members was struck by a truck on U.S. Route 58 near Castlewood, Virginia. Those in the van -- nine players, an athletic trainer and head coach Shelley Newton -- were treated at the scene by first responders and transported to nearby Russell County Medical Center in Lebanon for additional treatment. Players traveling in a second van were not involved in the accident.


“It was by far the scariest moment of my life," said freshman Taylor Myers. “Everything seemed to have happened in slow motion, but it truly felt that we all were there to help each other. It seemed that we cared more about each other than our own injuries.”


The players said they put their teammates above themselves in the midst of the frightening and chaotic moment. They helped pull each other out of the van and insisted that medical treatment be given to others before themselves.


“When the paramedics arrived there were so many lights going off and so many people trying to talk to me asking where I was hurting,” said senior Alexandra Bartley. “I didn't care about myself. I figured some of the other girls were in worse shape than me.”


Fortunately, all of the players were treated and released from the hospital, but not before developing a stronger relationship with one another. The players said that sometimes it takes a traumatic event to find true family, and that through the accident a new, unbreakable bond was formed amongst teammates. In fact, Bartley said she’s never been part of a team like this one -- a team that has become so close. After the accident, she said that teammates constantly checked on one another. And, she said, the team is no longer just a group of individuals who love softball, but a family of sisters. Senior Megan Arrington agreed.


“Our team is filled with love for each other,” said Arrington. “This accident has made us closer than we have ever been. We have realized how much we need each other and how lucky and blessed we are to have such a wonderful group of girls to call family.”


Team members added that they give thanks to God for His hand throughout the entire experience, and for the people He put in their path to calm them and to check on them in the aftermath.


“God really has been with us this entire experience,” Myers said. “This might sound crazy, but I could feel Him the entire time, from the moment we were hit, to the time we left the hospital. I have never been so passionately cared about through a community until this experience.”


To allow the players time to recover from the accident, the coaching staff cancelled the remainder of the team’s regular season games against Hiwassee College, West Virginia University Institute of Technology, and Alice Lloyd College. Despite losing the opportunity to play those games, the Lady Rams still qualified for post-season play in the regional tournament of the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) as a result of a school record 24 wins on the season, six more than the school record 18 wins set in 2016. In fact, in their first competition since the accident the BC ladies won two games in NCCAA regional play against Alice Lloyd to claim the NCCAA Mideast Regional Championship. The team will now move on to the National Christian College Athletic Association’s Softball World Series, May 17-19, not just as the winningest softball team in Bluefield College history, but with that new team dynamic they hope will take them even farther.


“We are still striving to do the best we can in the Christian World Series, and there is not anything that is going to stop us from being the best team that Bluefield has ever had,” Arrington said. “This is such a talented group of girls that I have been honored to play with, and they have made my senior year such a memorable year.”


But, she added, they are most excited to have their teammates alive.


“I would choose having these girls healthy and alive over playing a game of softball any day,” Arrington said. “Softball is just a sport and hobby to us right now, but relationships with your teammates can last a lifetime.”





Martha Dodd-Slippy, Trustee

There is nothing stronger than "Christian Strong." So proud of the girls to recognize that. Blessings to all.

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