HS senior makes her journey back to the diamond after suffering stroke


LIBERAL, Mo. (KODE) – After suffering a stroke in October of 2018, the last thing on everyone’s mind was if Brooke Bearden would ever play softball again, but yesterday in Liberal, Brooke defied the odds when she made her journey back to the diamond.

“We had one neurologist after her stroke say that her scans look horrible, she wasn’t expected to walk, talk, anything again,” said Kendra Buzzard, Brooke’s mother. 

After time spent in intensive care, recovering from two surgeries to remove blood clots in her brain and a portion of her skull to relieve pressure from swelling, Brooke’s future fell into question. Including aspects seniors in high school may take for granted, athletics.

“I just prayed that she would be able to at least be wheeled to a softball field for one of the games and just at least comprehend what was happening,” said Kendra.

In the midst of recovery, those prayers weren’t only answered, on her senior night, but exceeded. As she returned to her team, under her own power.

“It doesn’t surprise me because I’ve seen her work, for the three years prior to, and I’ve seen what she’s done in therapy and where she’s went you know from day one of the stroke to now,” said Liberal Softball Coach, BJ Goodell about her senior catcher.

Though still working to recover her speech, Brooke Bearden’s smile communicated for her.

“She didn’t have to do anything, say anything, she’s just sitting there smiling at ya. And if you’ve ever, if you see her, if you talk to her, that smile’s infectious,” added Goodell.

And the girl that spent months in Denver rehabbing from the stroke,made her biggest step in recovery, on her home field resuming her rightful spot, behind home plate for the ceremonial first pitch.

“I never, never in my wildest dreams expected her to actually walk out, onto the field and be recognized and be able to catch, you know a pitch. I mean that’s what she was, that was her passion, being a catcher,” said Brooke’s mother, Kendra.

On a night that was about far more than another game, she retook the field one more time. To pinch run for her best friend, Mallory Gazaway, sharing a hug on the same diamond where they’ve won multiple championships. Then scoring the biggest run of her career.

“I told every neurologist and surgeon, everybody standing in that room. I go, ‘you just wait, you just wait. The combination between our Lord and savior, and his healing power and the ambition and the drive of Brooke I go, ‘you are going to see a miracle in this girl. You will,” said Kendra. 

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