Kortlyn Brown ties the game for Nolan Catholic
Nolan Catholic senior Peyton Fisher has been battling chronic scoliosis since her freshman year.
She played through the pain as the Vikings went to the TAPPS softball state tournament during her first three years with the program.
But during her junior season, the pain got worse and she was told she had a bulging disc in her lower back.
“I was told it was something I had to watch and be very careful with, but I was having a lot of back pain last season that felt different,” said Fisher, Nolan’s only senior this year. “I took one day off and played the rest of the year, and all the way until district without slowing down. I was in physical therapy that whole year.”
It wasn’t until a tournament in Houston in the middle of this season when Fisher reached a breaking point.
“I could feel the pain getting worse and knew something wasn’t right,” she said. “I didn’t know just how bad I was hurting myself.”
With one more day left in the tourney, Fisher returned to the hotel the night before and quickly realized she couldn’t move.
“My pain was getting worse and by the time we had to leave to go watch a college game and tour Minute Maid Park, I couldn’t walk,” Fisher said. “My teammate Delaney was helping me take the weight off while I tried to walk. She was basically carrying me.
“It was pretty traumatic for me realizing I couldn’t walk. I was wheeled around the stadium and left the next morning to see five doctors the next week. I was in a wheelchair for a full month with a lot of pain and tears every single day. I tried to do therapy, but I was too weak and had to stop because I would just get worse every time.”
Fisher had to rely on others during that month, which was out of her comfort zone.
But it taught her that people cared.
“I am the kind of person that never wants to stop and I always wanted to do everything by myself so that time taught me that I had so many people who loved and cared for me that I could always depend on,” she said.
“An injury like the one Peyton had is life changing” assistant coach Jessica McClasky said. “Many people couldn’t accept it for what it was.”
At the end of the month she received nine injections into her spine and slowly made her way out of the wheelchair and back to walking. She went back to therapy and gained her strength back.
But her rehab would be good one day and bad the next.
“One day I was told I would play again. I got my hopes up and told my teammates, coaches and the school trainer, but the next time I went to therapy I had a bad day,” Fisher said. “I couldn’t do most of my exercises and was told I’d never play again. I went back to school and told everyone the bad news.”
But she never stopped pushing.
After a few more injections, doctors inspected her and fully cleared her to play.
“Peyton didn’t give up, she didn’t take no for an answer and she had one goal set in mind,” McClasky said. “She wanted to be back on the field and she did that.”
Her first game back was senior night on April 12 against FW All Saints. Fisher batted twice and drew one walk.
“It felt amazing to be playing again with my team. Now we’re in the playoffs and I never thought I’d be playing again.”
Nolan Catholic (15-12) plays Dallas Bishop Lynch (23-13-2) at 3:30 p.m. on Friday in Crosby during the TAPPS Division I state semifinals. It’s the program’s fourth straight trip to state after it came back to beat Dallas Ursuline, 2-1, in its regional.
Kortlyn Brown hit the game-tying home run in the seventh and Elena Larsen hit the walk-off RBI single as Nolan won 2-1.
“I am so lucky to be able to play the game I love again and I am so thankful for all of my amazing teammates, coaches, trainers, doctors, my parents and people outside of softball that helped me through all the bad times,” Fisher said. “It’s my last week of softball ever and I plan on cherishing every moment with the best family of teammates and the most supportive coaching staff I’ve ever had.”
Since her return, Fisher is batting .571 in 35 at-bats.
“Peyton is the type of person that when she sets her mind to something, she will do it,” McClasky said. “She makes me want to be a better person.”