Keep on keeping on

Madison Kotchey battles health issues off the field while leading on the field

Determination. Will to win. Refusing to back down from adversity. These are phrases that make up the composition of Madison Kotchey.

Kotchey, a sophomore, plays first base for the Liberty softball team. She recently earned the title of Big South Player of the Week and has been hailed as one of the team’s central leaders by Coach
Dot Richardson.

The real story behind Kotchey lies much deeper than receiving accolades. At the end of her freshman season, she caught strep throat five times, something that preceded unstoppable coughing fits. At the time, she played it off and looked forward to summer vacation.

Determination — Madison Kotchey does not let her health keep her down. Photo credit: Joel Coleman

Determination — Madison Kotchey does not let her health keep her down. Photo credit: Joel Coleman

“During the summer it just got progressively worse, and I was just like, ‘okay, what do I do?” Kotchey said. “My mom thought it was allergies so I went and got an inhaler from my doctor.”

When her health seemed to be improving, she arrived back at Liberty only to see her coughing fits resume. When Kotchey’s ribs cracked as a result of so much coughing, Richardson sent her to a pulmonologist, a doctor specializing in the respiratory tract.

Following numerous CAT scans, doctors still did not know what is wrong with Kotchey.

“I just recently had a CAT scan, and we’re still up in the air with what’s wrong with me,” Kotchey said.

With the ongoing saga of her mysterious medical issues, Richardson allowed Kotchey to rest until she felt ready to play softball once again.

“I know that she has felt some depression about ‘I have these health issues, what’s going on?’” Richardson said. “With that being said, she’s still put in extra time fielding and extra time hitting. It’s a tribute to her as an athlete and an individual to trust the Lord and to do what she needs to when she’s called on.”

With the timing of her return to the field in her own hands, Kotchey hit a rough stretch in which she doubted she would even return.

“I was like, ‘Okay, it’s beating me and I don’t have to do it anymore,’” Kotchey said.

Following a time of depression for a seemingly unattainable cure to her puzzling health issues, Kotchey decided it was time to move on with a positive approach.

“I think about the little girls that come here and watch us play,” Kotchey said. “When I was younger that’s all I did with my dad, I would go to the field because I always wanted to be a Division I softball player. With the mindset of what those little girls see us as … I just want to work harder so they can come out and … see all the hard work that we do.”

Kotchey fell in love with softball at the age of four while traveling to watch her dad play in different adult softball tournaments.

“It’s so great to have her on the field (again), but I knew that it had to be on her timing,” Richardson said. “Now I think that you’re going to find a changed individual who’s not taking anything for granted, and you can see on the field that she’s really loving it.”

Trusting in the midst of uncertainty has been a reality that Kotchey has come to terms with. Although there is still no prognosis of her health issues, she is determined to continue on the path that leads to greatness.

Playing in just eight out of Liberty’s 32 games this season, Kotchey is tied for second-most home runs on the team with two. She is currently batting .368 with 7 RBIs.

Her recent success is a testimony to her will to overcome adversity, something she hopes to encourage others to do.

“Never let something beat you for something that you’ve been doing for so long,” Kotchey said. “Never give up on what you want your dream to be.”

Keating is a sports reporter.

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