Karessa Armstrong will root for the team she played on for the last four years, but illness has sidelined her.
Karessa contracted a deadly infection that has taken her out of the game this year and possibly for the next several years.
“The doctors say my immune system may never be the same,” said Karessa.
Despite continuing to suffer side effects, she’ll don her uniform and support her team in the stands during the playoffs.
The coaches and team say her leadership is missed. She led the outfield from the center field position.
“She was really part of this dream team,” said Coach Kady Tenney.
Karessa had planned on finishing up her senior year with a strong softball showing. She had lined up to play ball and attend BYU in Hawaii, but a serious illness that kept her in two different hospitals for two weeks almost killed her and radically changed her plans.
The Wessel sisters said Karessa is the worst case of health issues that plagued the team this year.
“Each week we either had someone out for illness or injury,” said Kaitlyn, who suffered a debilitating back injury.
Karessa’s internal infection became septic, spreading to internal organs. In fact, Karessa reported that a former Valley club softball coach of hers died over the weekend from a septic infection.
When Karessa first fell ill, Coach Will Dunman showed up at the hospital almost immediately. The team brought her flowers and visited while she stayed in the Payson hospital. When she moved to a hospital in Scottsdale, flowers from the team arrived five minutes after she did.
“The hospital staff said they had never seen flowers arrive so quickly before,” she said of the team’s efforts.
Karessa just proves that this team has a special bond even illness cannot alter.