By Madeline Lloyd
Big 12 Campus Correspondent
Baylor outfielder Linsey Hays knew at an early age that softball would play a major role in her future. When the Brock, Texas, redshirt freshman started looking at colleges, she was instantly drawn to Baylor University’s Christian background and athletic environment. It was a perfect match.
Quickly after her career as a college athlete began, however, she started experiencing chest pains during practices.
“I went to the ER numerous times because doctors thought I had heart problems,” Hays said. “Hearing that when you’re twenty-years-old is just kind of scary.”
After a visit with a cardiologist, Hays discovered that her heart was not the problem. Blind to what was causing her body discomfort, she continued playing. But the chest pains increased, along with shortness of breath, forcing Hays to schedule more visits with doctors.
“My grandma is a nurse and advised doctors to check my thyroid,” Hays said. “Although thyroid problems are very rare, it was possible. I was soon diagnosed with hyperthyroidism. The treatment involved killing my thyroids.”
Hyperthyroidism causes the body to produce excess thyroid hormone. This surplus causes increases in heartbeat, sweat and anxiety. If left untreated, hyperthyroidism can lead to serious heart and bone problems.
This health condition caused Hays to redshirt her freshman year at Baylor. During this time, she focused on recovering, but her desire to compete grew exponentially. She had faced a similar situation during her junior year of high school when she tore her ACL.
“Sitting out for a year is hard,” Hays said. “It just made me want to play even more. It was difficult, but I was ready.”
And when Hays said she was ready, she meant it. Currently competing in her first year, the outfielder has already proven her mature skill level. After beating Arizona State in March, Hays was awarded the Big 12 Player of the Week award.
“She’s very talented,” head coach Glenn Moore said. “One of the most talented players that we’ve ever recruited. She’s had some adversity and I think it’s tested her. But in time, we’ll see that she’s going to be one of the best hitters to ever wear a Baylor uniform.”
According to Moore, Hays started making a name for herself in the fall, when she had four homeruns in one weekend at the Spring Klein Tournament.
“That launched her,” Moore said. “We had planned on putting her in the leadoff spot, but because of her ability to drive in runs, phenomenal bat speed and the way she studies pitchers, we knew she’d get the opportunity to get more RBI and drive runners in if she was in the 3-4 hole.”
Although Hays has had to endure adversity, she has developed a relentless attitude. She dedicates herself to anything she perceives as something that will help her reach her goals.Her mother once told her, “Whether you’re being really successful or failing, make sure you are always giving the glory to God. Keep your faith in Him and everything else will work out.” Hays has stayed true to this advice, and will continue to accomplish great things as long as she keeps her eye on the ball.