‘Grateful for everything’: Teen fueled by faith one year after collapsing during softball game

CHARLOTTE — This week marks one year since a Rowan County teenager entered the fight for her life and survived.

Kassidy Sechler collapsed during a travel softball game and was later diagnosed with heart disease.

Kassidy Sechler was rushed to a hospital on July 17, 2021, after becoming sick.

She was unresponsive for days before doctors could determine what was wrong.

“In the beginning, it’s really like, ‘Why would this happen to me?’ But you learn that God has a plan for you,” Kassidy Sechler said. “He’s good and you just have to trust it.”

Kassidy Sechler may never know why, but the teenager is learning to embrace what happened.

“She had just gotten a great hit. Got on second base,” said Kathy Sechler, Kassidy’s mother.

The mother noticed something was wrong.

“By the time I got back to the dugout, she was laying down,” Kathy Sechler said. “She was holding her heart and she was saying, ‘My heart hurts. My heart hurts.’ And pretty much immediately after that, she started going out.”

Kassidy Sechler’s parents said it felt like nothing happened for days.

“Just really didn’t know what was going on or what was going to happen,” said Todd Sechler, Kassidy’s father.

The incident sparked a prayer chain around the world, which included athletes in Nebraska, Alabama and South Africa.

“It just kept on coming,” Todd Sechler said. “It was amazing and still to this day. It hasn’t stopped.”

“All I remember is waking up in the hospital and immediately was flooded with so much support,” Kassidy Sechler said. “I mean, when you have that many people praying -- something gonna happen.”

Something did happen.

“And literally, within a day, they were saying we need to try something,” Kathy Sechler said. “That’s when we try to feed through the tube and she accepted it her body accepted it. And within the next day, it’s when everything started working right.”

Doctors diagnosed Kassidy Sechler with ARVC, which is a heart disease that prevents the heart from beating normally.

Kassidy Sechler has a defibrillator implanted that she must wear for the rest of her life.

“I get better every single day,” she said. “I start walking every day. I start eating better and it just makes me feel overall better that I’ve healed a lot.”

Kassidy Sechler said not to take things for granted and enjoy personal relationships.

“The people I’m close to and of course, it’s impacted my faith a lot,” she said. “Yeah. It’s just really made me grateful for everything.”