Softball’s Hankins overcomes scare to lead team
It all happened so fast, Sable Hankins didn’t even realize what was happening.
On the morning of Feb. 13, the Lamar University softball shortstop was on her way to practice when her life almost ended.
“I was exiting off of Martin Luther King Parkway, from Port Arthur, and I’m driving around 55 miles per hour, where I then notice there was something in the road,” Hankin said. “I try to maneuver around it which caused my car to jump the curb. As I tried to get back onto the road my steering wheel locked.
“Without control of my steering wheel, I had no control of my car. I then flipped over three lanes and the median (and) finally I flipped over two more lanes and landed onto another car. “
Hankins said her first concern was not for herself, but for the person whose car she landed on.
“I honestly didn’t feel any pain, I was more concerned of the chances that I may have killed somebody in the result of me landing on the hood of their car,” she said. “I didn’t feel anything at all, initially, but I had glass all over my body, especially my feet.
“At the hospital they had to take the glass out of my skin, one by one, which was brutal.”
Hankins had a C1 cervical fracture.
“If I would have broken my cervix, I would have been paralyzed,” she said. “The doctor told me that I was extremely lucky that my injuries weren’t more severe.
“The doctor initially told me that there was a chance that I would never play softball again — this is what worried me most, because softball, in a way, has been my life. I can’t really imagine my life without softball.”
Hankins was in a neck brace for three weeks and said the most frustrating part was not being able to play the sport she loves.
“The rehab was pretty gruesome,” she said. “ The recovery process was hard because there was no actual way to rehab my spine because I fractured the top half of it, and no one wanted to release me because they couldn’t tell if I was severely injured.
“I felt fine and could move fluently, but somehow I had a fractured spine and no one could explain how I was able to move.”
During rehab, Hankins said she continually called doctors and athletic trainers, trying to do whatever she could to get back onto the field.
“What I was waiting for was my bone scan results, this is what decided my softball fate,” she said. “I called the doctor’s office every day, three times a day, because every day I missed hurt our team.”
After waiting a week for the scan results, Hankins received a call from the doctor while she was traveling to support the team.
“But they can’t give me the results unless it was in person — this was problem because we were in Waco, playing at Baylor University,” she said.
When she returned to Beaumont, she went to the hospital on her own.
“(It) ended up perfect because I was healthy enough to play,” she said. “Instantly, after that doctor’s appointment, I ran directly to the softball field, (and) I started at shortstop.”
Since her return, Hankins has made quite an impact. She is leading the team in home runs, and is batting a team-high .400 in Southland Conference play.
“Life is what you make it,” she said. “You must take advantage of your opportunities while living every day like it’s your last — because you never know what the next day holds.”