Big 12 Campus Correspondent
Oklahoma State softball player Breana Casaus expected to play her final season as a Cowgirl last year. However, a rare season-ending injury just 15 games into the season led her to where she is today - a fifth-year senior who knows how to overcome obstacles to play the sport she loves.
Casaus was playing center field during the Cowgirls home opener last season when she went up for a fly ball and landed on her foot wrong. She suffered from a Lisfranc injury, which is very rare and some athletes never return to play again.
“I limped in and I sat on the floor, not knowing what happened,” Casaus said. “When I took a step, my foot was turned and I couldn’t walk. I was able to jog off the field, but toward the end I was just hoping on one foot.”
Her season had just started, her whole life was softball and suddenly it changed because of one unusual accident. Casaus was OSU’s 11th best all-time base stealer with 19 and was a valuable asset to the team. After receiving a medical redshirt for her fifth year, she faced the decision of returning for another season.
At first, she thought about just graduating and returning home to be with her daughter, Ataya, but then she realized she wasn’t finished playing softball.
“I thought, I can’t just leave like this, and my first reaction was that I was done,” Casaus said. “I’m going to go home and move on. I would have been done that summer, but the more I watched the team play the more I wanted to play again.”
If anyone knows how to overcome challenges and bounce back in a more positive way, it’s Casaus. She had her daughter right before her junior year at Bloomfield High School in Bloomfield, N.M.
Having a child at a young age is an obstacle itself, but being an athlete with one is even harder. She was forced to mature and grow up faster than the usual teenager. She continued to pursue an education along with her love for softball even if it required her to move 12 hours away from her daughter and family.
Before she came to OSU in 2008, she played for Odessa College, where she posted a National Junior College Athletic Association record for stolen bases in a season with 87 thefts in 94 attempts.
Returning as a fifth-year senior, Casaus’s role on the team has shifted to being a leader for the younger girls. She keeps the team positive when they are down.
“Before I got hurt, I was more involved with playing time and everything,” Casaus said. “Now this is my role and I have to do this as good as I was doing everything else. It’s a big and different role, but it’s good for me.”
Coach Rich Wieligman sees Casaus as not only a leader on the team, but a role player as well. After researching previous athletes who have suffered from a Lisfranc injury, Wieligman said it’s amazing that she’s playing the way she is.
“On the field, she continues to work hard,” Wieligman said. “She had to work so hard to get back on the field and she wasn’t 100 percent recovered until around February. She went through some struggles and that was the test, it was a mental test getting up and rehabbing and not knowing if you can come back. She’s had some challenges in her life and it’s made her a very strong person.”
Casaus has plans after she graduates in May and she realizes that there’s more to life than just softball. She plans to go to Sonography school, which is a two year program that will lead her to performing Ultrasounds. She wants her daughter, whom she mentioned is “her little shadow,” to pursue other things besides just sports.
“It made me realize I can’t take anything for granted,” Casaus said. “That was my life, to play softball. Then God showed me it’s not all about softball, which is the biggest thing, getting closer to God and realizing what life’s all about. I love softball, but I now know there’s more outside of it.”