Bella Picard is a former high school All-American and Division-1 softball player at St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia, PA. In a game against Fordham University on April 18, 2015, Bella suffered a spinal cord injury while sliding head-first into second base on a hit-and-run play. The injury compromised the movement on the right side of her body. In this episode Bella takes us through her recovery and overcoming the odds as she works towards a return to the diamond. Below is a short video of Bella's story produced by Bleacher Report. You will also find a list of topics Bella and I discuss throughout the interview:
- Takes us through the play that changed her life and her first thoughts after regaining consciousness.
- Bella's initial thoughts after being told by doctors that she wouldn’t be able to play softball anymore.
- The necessary surgeries she underwent.
- Setbacks experienced due to circulation troubles after finally re-learning how to walk.
- Why these setbacks were actually a blessing in disguise.
- The incentive to make as much progress as possible within the first year after a spinal cord injury.
- The evolution of Bella's rehab, which includes locomotor training.
“We can do any exercise, it just looks a little weird”
“its something that you can’t stop thinking about every night, its like that good play you made in the game”
- The importance of not comparing herself to what she did before her injury.
- Learning from failure and how softball allows for that.
- The importance of not taking yourself too seriously
“Why be miserable in a miserable situation, that is double miserable”
- How her fitness goals have changed since her injury.
- Why athletes need to lose the go hard or go home mentality.
- How she pulled her wrist out of socket.
- The mental and emotional setbacks she makes for herself at times.
- The power of her faith when she gets down on how her life is different than it was when she was an All-American athlete.
- How she looks for God’s signs.
- Where her interest in Space and NASA came from.
“How did I break my neck and still can’t do things how I used to, yet we can go to space?”
- Why the spinal cord is like the ocean.
- How her approach to goal setting and expectation has changed.
- The benefits of meditation for gray matter in the brain and spinal cord.
- How the saying "work like horse, eat like horse" still applies and the nutritional changes Bella has made since her injury.
- How she became friends with Eric LeGrand and the greatest lesson she has learned from him.
- Thoughts on sliding headfirst.
- Dealing with the loss of muscle after injury.
- How her dog Benny Has helped her throughout her recovery.
- Why its important for athletes to listen to their bodies.
Honestly I didn't even think to share this bc it just absolutely crushes me to see these pants literally hanging off of my body now. But I'll go ahead & push my ego aside bc I know I'm def not the only human being on this earth rn who gets that lil extra slap in the face of reality sometimes that makes ya feel that distinct sadness u probably try to avoid feeling everyday. All I can say is don't ever fear ur reality just bc of the things u can physically see right in front of u. What u can see in front of u does NOT dictate or even define ur future whatsoever. So I'd like to encourage anyone who needs it to find that strength, motivation, discipline, & hope that I KNOW everyone can choose to seek & find within themselves if the effort is there. All of those GOOD things that u can find within urself will help u get a clearer view of what u can't quite see yet physically in front of u. I call it faith, believing in what u cannot see. Let ur mind, heart & soul be ur vision, don't just think ur eyeballs are the only tools u have to view this life. I met a blind man sitting on a bench by the beach not too long ago who said "I've never been able to physically see something that scares me, yet I can still paint scary thoughts in my mind that come from negative thinking." The mind is powerful. Do ur best to think beautiful thoughts & create unbelievable dreams that are beyond human comprehension. With that u can build an indestructible tower of faith that will be MUCH bigger than any fear u have about ur reality #scirecovery #faithofamustardseed #iwillplayagain #bringbacktherightside