Overland Park teen hits grand slam 2 years after leg amputation
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (KCTV) - From her first days of tee-ball, Brinley Hutson has always found a home at the ballpark.
“I wanna say fourth grade I started catching, and that’s when I like really fell in love with that one position,” Brinley said. “You can see the whole field, and you’re kind of in charge of like most plays. You’re always telling people to make sure to go to the right place and all that.”
Two years ago, Brinley was kicked in the leg during a soccer game. It was a seemingly routine injury for the 12-year-old.
“I questioned that maybe she bruised the bone or something,” her mom, Kim Hutson, said.
“We thought nothing of it,” Brinley said. “A week later, it started getting really swollen and red.”
The night before her last day of sixth grade, Brinley began complaining of intense pain.
“On the last day of school, my dad took me to the emergency room,” Brinley said. “Then the next day, I went into my first surgery.”
She’d undergo 18 more over the next two weeks.
“It turned into a life-threatening situation pretty quickly,” Kim said.
Doctors diagnosed Brinley with a flesh-eating bacteria. They couldn’t keep up with the dying tissue slowly destroying her leg.
“Her surgeon said, ‘You know, unfortunately we’re struggling keeping her stable on the operating table, and we really need to amputate to save her life,’” Kim said. “Honestly, it’s like... I just remember I literally couldn’t feel my body. It was like the most bizarre thing having to sign, initial to allow them to take your kid’s leg.”
During her 47-day stay in the hospital, Brinley couldn’t stop thinking about getting back to the game she loved.
“I wanted to play softball again, for sure,” she said.
“All she would keep asking is can she still play softball,” Kim said.
She was running eight months later with her new prosthetic. Last fall, she started playing softball again. But, just getting back on the diamond wasn’t enough for Brinley; she wanted to swing for the fences.
Brinley stepped up to the plate for her club team this weekend in Overland Park: bases loaded, two outs.
“Don’t overswing,” Brinley remembers thinking. “Keep your eye on the ball.”
Next thing she knew, she made contact.
“I was thinking it was just like gonna go to the fence,” she said. “I mean, pretty big hit — but not a grand slam.”
That’s exactly what it was.
“It’s my — actually — first home run,” she said. “It was just like a big accomplishment. In softball, everyone wants to hit a home run at some point. But like, for me to do that, it meant something different to me.”
“Indescribable,” Kim said. “It’s just pure joy seeing her be able to do what she loves.”
“Everyone has like, this big goal — but you have to have these small goals to get to your big goal,” Brinley said. “That was one of my small goals.”
And, what is her big goal?
“Play college softball,” Brinley said.
She’ll get there. One step, one base at a time, with the motto that’s carried her through the unthinkable.
“I can’t change what happened to me,” she said. “So, I just tell myself, ‘Why get mad over it when you can’t change it?’ Turn it into a positive instead of a negative.”
Copyright 2023 KCTV. All rights reserved.