Silverdale softball star inspires with story of faith - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Silverdale softball star inspires with story of faith

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Whether it was the youth leagues growing up, or the travel teams with her dad, Shelby Duggard felt softball was her calling.

In her first season at Silverdale Baptist Academy High School, Shelby was one of the Seahawks' ace pitchers, finishing 15-1 on the mound while batting over .400. Her strong sophomore season even led to several college scholarships.

 "That had been a dream for me as a kid" says Shelby. "I always wanted to play D-1 softball. That was always just my dream."

But during the summer going into her junior year, Shelby was met with her toughest opponent, something that caused her to collapse unexpectedly during a pitching lesson.

"I just felt my arms go numb. I lost my vision and my hearing. I couldn't hear what my coach was saying to me and I fell down and passed out in a way."

Shelby would later be diagnosed with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, also known as POTS disease, a condition where reduced blood flow to the heart causes the heart rate to increase. One of the symptoms is difficulty standing, which is why she is now bound to a wheelchair. Shelby also hasn't been able to sleep through the night since last August.

"It was super difficult for me. I remember being perfectly fine one day and not the next. I questioned God a lot and didn't understand what was happening to me. I thought my plan was supposed to be playing softball and I was supposed to be reaching people through softball that was it."

Despite being confined to four wheels, Shelby found a way to make it to most of the team's home and away games this year, which helped encourage her to find a new perspective on life. 

"I just felt I needed to do something with it. God doesn't waste pain. It just took a long time to get to that state of mind, that God does use the bad things for good and there is a purpose for everything."

Shelby believes her new purpose in life is through ministry, where she hopes to help the lives of others on mission trips outside of the country. 

"Every morning I wake up and it's a choice to get up and go to school and reach those people with what I learned. Or I can sit in my bed and feel sorry for myself. God has taught me it's not about myself. You don't find your strength in this world I don't think. I think it comes from God. I've been able to deal with it and not focus on it. There was a time I was focusing on it and it kept me from what God had for me."

The Silverdale softball team will close out the regular season Thursday at home against Cooper Basin. Shelby, of course, will be there to help cheer on her teammates for senior night.

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