LYNNVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) – In March, Tecumseh senior Kinsly Heichelbech got a second chance at life after a major wreck with a semi near Highway 57 and Baseline Road in Warrick County.
“I came to a stop sign,” said Heichelbech. “I looked at – I mean, I don’t really remember much from that day – but I’m pretty sure I didn’t see anything. Then there’s a lady across the street who’s waving me on. And so naturally, I just went. And then the last thing I remember seeing was the semi and then I woke up in the hospital.”
Heichelbech’s Toyota Prius was totaled and it was pushed into the guardrail. She says she doesn’t remember what happened after the impact, but first responders told her that she was fully conscious and attempting to crawl out of her passenger window. She was taken to a hospital in Evansville with a broken pelvis, lacerated kidney, collapsed pockets in her lungs, two blood spots on her frontal lobe and deep gashes on her arm and leg.
“I saw my little girl lay in there and that was that’s hard,” said Melissa Heichelbech, Kinsly’s mother. “I don’t wish that for any parent. But all things considered we are the luckiest parents, because we get to keep her.”
Less than two months later, she is getting her second chance at her softball career too. She has made a nearly full recovery and is back out on the softball field.
“If she wasn’t our best player last year, she was one of the two or three and probably would have been our best player this year,” said head coach Gordon Wood. “We didn’t expect anything. We expected her to be a cheerleader and having to sit next to a grouchy head coach in the dugout.”
Heichelbech said her motivation for a quick recovery was getting the opportunity to have one more at-bat before graduating. She got to play in two varsity games in the final week and had six at-bats, getting on base three times.
“That was really one of my main concerns, said Heichelbech. “I mean, I probably should have had other concerns. But softball basically consumes my life. So it was really the only thing I was thinking about. And I think every day I called Gordon and asked, I was like, will you let me go up to bat even if you don’t let me have my bat, just to get the at-bat itself. And he said we’ll see depends on how I am and so I think that helped a lot with me getting to where I am because I don’t think I was getting an at-bat one way or another.”
“I still play travel ball,” added Heichelbech. “So I’d still play over the summer. And I would go on to play college, but I’m never gonna get my high school seasons back.”
Many are surprised she survived the crash, let alone is able to play high school softball again.
“I don’t like telling people, I almost died, or how did I survive,” said Heichelbech. “Because I mean, external injuries, it doesn’t look like I got hurt at all, except for a giant scar on my leg and a couple of my arm. But looking at the car, and, you know, listening to how what my injuries were I mean, it was definitely scary for the longest time. I was like, oh, it’s not that big of a deal. But then, you know, after hearing what other people were having to say, I did realize how lucky I was.”
But a mix of what her coach says is stubbornness and support she received, she is ready to get back to normal life.
“I never doubted her for a second,” added Heichelbech’s mom. “She’s tough kid.”
“There is much more to life than softball, said Wood. “And she made us remember that.”