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Bella as strong as ever

High Schools

July 01, 2011|By Matt Szabo, matthew.szabo@latimes.com
(Scott Smeltzer…)

Newport Harbor was the best softball team in the Newport-Mesa area this year. With her impressive statistics and leadership, my conclusion was that the Sailors' sophomore catcher, Bella Secaira, was the best player.

I called her cell phone a few weeks back to set up a Dream Team Player of the Year interview, not thinking too much of it when she didn't call back that same night. When I got into work the next day, I had a voicemail from Bella. She apologized for not calling back sooner, saying she'd been busy with schoolwork and things going on in her personal life and, oh yeah, she'd been in a little accident.

I called her back and she answered. Only after a few moments did I find out she was in a hospital bed, recovering from a 30-foot fall from an apartment building June 3. She said she was just being a kid and fooling around, but she had suffered a collapsed lung and a mild concussion in the fall.

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Bella still seemed to be in good spirits. With her vivacious personality, that didn't surprise me. Six days after the accident, she left the hospital for her home not too far from the softball field at Newport Harbor. She's been recovering, doing physical therapy and doing much better. She was using a walker, but now she can walk on her own, including up the stairs. She still wears her neck brace as a precaution but she still smiles plenty, which is always a good sign.

"I've had multiple people say that I'm very lucky to be here, because the fall was very crazy," Bella said. "The one thing I don't want is people feeling sorry for me. Everything happens for a reason. I'm really excited to work out and do rehab and everything. I know that I am going to be stronger than I ever was, mentally and physically."

It's a perspective that plenty of adults wouldn't have, a mature way of looking at things. That didn't surprise me either. Bella has always struck me as mature for a 16-year-old.

When she was our Athlete of the Week a couple of months back, she certainly had plenty of things to say about the state of Newport Harbor softball. These interviews usually last 15 or 20 minutes, but we talked for nearly an hour about some of her frustrations and, ultimately, her positive outlook on the team.

The Sailors have lost 42 straight games in the tough Sunset League, their last win coming in 2007. Talk to Bella for long enough, and you begin to believe the team captain could almost will the team to an upset win against an Edison or a Los Alamitos.

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