Caitlin Rodgers was just two steps into her family's garage when the pain hit and the screaming started.
"I knew something had bit me on the leg, but I didn't know what at the time," said the Briarwood freshman and daughter of Mark and Michelle Rodgers. "I flipped on the nearest light and immediately saw that it was some type of a snake."
Briarwood's Katie Reese swings at the ball during a recent game.
It was two weeks ago, on Aug. 15, that one quick second put her future plans as a softball player, and even her dreams of an ordinary tomorrow, in doubt.
Caitlin's screaming alerted her dad, who ran to the garage.
"I was totally surprised to see a 17-inch long Copperhead Moccasin stretched across the floor of the garage," he said. "After killing the snake, I knew we had to get moving in a hurry to the nearest medical facility."
That's when Caitlin's step-mom, Alicia, stepped in. An operating room nurse for Dr. Joe Wills in Thomson, Mrs. Rodgers quickly wrapped a belt around her leg as a tourniquet and placed ice directly on the wound site.
Caitlin's parents immediately loaded her in a vehicle and started the trek to the McDuffie Regional Medical Center. Within a few minutes they'd flagged down McDuffie County Sheriff's Deputy Jerome Jackson. They loaded Caitlin in the back of the patrol car and followed the deputy to the hospital, as city police officers set up various road blocks to control other traffic.
When Caitlin arrived at the hospital, she was monitored for a couple of hours to make sure her blood flow to her foot and toes was OK. Eventually, Caitlin was transported to the Trauma Center at the Medical College of Georgia.
She stayed in the ICU of the Trauma Center overnight, before she was released on Tuesday, Aug. 17, with the aid of crutches.
"We were truly blessed in this traumatic event of our lives," said Mr. Rodgers. "In a snake bite of any type, you worry about tissue damage, and it looks today that everything will be OK."
Caitlin's since returned to the Lady Bucs and even pitched in a game. She still has no feeling in her leg immediately around the snake bite, but remains one of the team's leaders, someone even the older players on the team look at her for guidance and leadership.
"We were so fortunate that everything came into place on this day," Mr. Rodgers said. "From meeting the deputy near our home, to the roadblock, and to the expert care Caitlin received at the hospitals, we were very lucky and fortunate.
"We would like to send out a big thank you to all the county and city police officers that were involved in our situation. Everyone did a superb and splendid job."