Surgery never once crossed her mind. Randee O’Donnell was too busy helping lead Tahlequah to state tournament appearances in slowpitch and fastpitch softball.
But with her future at Oklahoma State on the horizon, O’Donnell decided it was time to get her non-throwing shoulder cleaned up.
“I never thought about getting surgery in high school,” O’Donnell said. “Honestly, I never thought I’d have to have surgery. My left shoulder would pop out of socket when I swung every once in a while. I didn’t think it was serious.”
O’Donnell went under the knife Friday morning to repair a torn labrum and will head to Stillwater with a clean bill of health — after some extensive rehabilitation, of course.
“As of now, I’m in a special sling for three to five weeks,” said O’Donnell, who capped off her varsity fastpitch career by logging a .442 batting average, 41 runs scored, 13 stolen bases and a team-high 45 runs batted in. “Then I’m supposed to start rehab. I’m looking at going to summer school in July at OSU and getting rehab from trainers there. While also taking six hours of class.”
In the spring, O’Donnell helped Tahlequah’s slowpitch softball team reach the Class 6A championship game, where the Lady Tigers lost 14-8 to Southmoore. O’Donnell polished off her final high school athletic semester by hitting .563 with seven home runs, 51 runs batted in, 77 runs scored and a .924 fielding percentage.
In eight combined seasons between fastpitch and slowpitch softball, O’Donnell’s teams sported 287 victories in 323 games.
All of that while playing with a balky shoulder.
“The pain would only come when I popped it,” O’Donnell said. “I did pop it in practice some and in games a few times. The pain wasn’t fun but it only lasted around five minutes, 10 minutes max. Then after it stopped, it was sore for a day or two, but I could still function fine.”
After getting a magnetic resonance imaging scan, that’s when it was decided that it would be best for O’Donnell to have the procedure.
“I found out I needed surgery just a couple weeks ago,” O’Donnell said. “However it’s been bothering me for awhile. I just never got an MRI on it.”
O’Donnell’s main concern was making sure her shoulder was completely healed up before her collegiate career commenced.
“It was very important to get it taken care of before college,” she said. “It has been popping out of socket more and more often, and the doctor didn’t want to give it a chance to get where it pops out every time I move in a swinging motion.”
Now O’Donnell has to ease herself back into softball activities.
“I’m looking at being fully released in about three months,” O’Donnell said. “Hopefully with this rehab though, I’ll be back ready to go sooner than that.”