FREEPORT, Ill. (WIFR) Many people believe that everything happens for a reason, good or bad. For Hononegah softball pitcher Catie Thorne, one decision changed her entire senior season.
"I was just pitching at practice and I took my mask off because it was bothering me," Catie said. "And then the next hit was right to my face."
On March 6.Thorne was airlifted to the UW Health University Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin. Her father Troy was obviously concerned.
"She's been playing since she was seven and we've had nicks and bruises, but this was much more significant."
Both cheek bones broken, both orbital sockets also broken. Her sinuses were crushed and she had multiple fractures to her skull. Not to mention bruising to the brain. Her senior year was over before it started.
"I felt like I upset my parents a lot because I know how happy they were to see me and I felt like I let my team down," said Thorne.
"Catie's got a lot more strength than I thought she had, because we're less than two months into this deal and she's been cleared. We have to go back in six months to see the doctor. Of course she can't play ball right now, but as far as day-to-day life and getting her smile back, she's right there."
Catie underwent reconstructive surgery and a month later was able to rejoin the Lady Indians. She threw out the first pitch in a 4-3 win against Huntley on April 5.
"It's great to see her back," said Hononegah head coach Dan Bohn. "She's back with the team, she's in the dugout all the time and rooting her teammates on so it's great to see."
This past Friday, Hononegah played Freeport. However, it wasn't just a normal conference game. The Lady Pretzels wore purple socks and purple hair ties. They also wrote Catie a get-well card to show their support for a fellow softball player.
"They said that they hope to see me play again and they gave me some candy, it was sweet," said Thorne.
"That just shows what this sport's all about," explained Bohn. "You got other teams coming in, you're playing them on the field, but they're concerned about all the people in the softball community."
And while Catie is on the road to recovery on the diamond, she also shined at her senior prom on Saturday.
"We haven't been fighting this alone," said Troy. "Our community is strong. Hononegah's blessed with a great community of caring people."
Her next follow-up appointment is on May 1.