Linfield Wildcats

Wildcat Spotlight

March 14, 2017
Buss Service
Whether it's helping her softball team pursue an NCAA championship, assisting her mother, Rosa, through stages of physical therapy, or preparing for a career in the medical field, Alissa  Buss' life revolves around providing support for others.
 
Yet two years ago, it was Buss who was calling for support.
 
Linfield was playing George Fox at the Northwest Conference championship tournament in Spokane, Washington, when disaster struck.
 
In the second at-bat of the game, Buss was hit in the face by a softball on an errant throw. The blow shattered her upper jawbone, knocking out two front teeth and jeopardizing two others.
 
Buss was returning to second base after rounding the base just as George Fox's second baseman missed receiving the throw. Simply the result of bad timing, the ball hit Buss in the face.
 
“She faked a throw and I thought she was going to fake the throw again, so I looked down to make sure I was going to step on the base. I didn't see the ball coming at my face and it just caught me,” says Buss with a grimace.
 
The injury required five surgeries and a lengthy, two-year recovery.
 
Although her injury was extensive, Buss sat out just two days of practice. Her dedication to the team was so great that she was back at practice one day after her first surgery.
 
Shrugging her shoulders Buss says, “I just had to wear a face mask and a mouth guard, so (playing) was doable. I was going to do whatever it took to play.”
 
Support from her fellow Wildcats gave her strength.
 
“What kept me going and kept me positive during that time was having my teammates check in on me,” says Buss with a thankful smile. “It felt really good. They kept me going.”
 
Buss' support group extended beyond her teammates to her parents, Rosa and Eric. She remains extremely thankful for the support her parents provided her throughout her recovery and in backing all of her athletic endeavors. “They have been the biggest supporters throughout my journey of playing softball. I wouldn't be here without them.”
 
It should come as no surprise that Buss was flooded with support. Typically, she was always the one providing support for others.
 
Linfield freshman Brooke  Snyder was one such recipient of Buss' support on the softball field.
 
“She never hesitates to help someone on the team. Being a rookie, that means everything,” says Snyder.
 
It's not only underclassmen who have benefited from Buss' on-field presence.
 
Says senior Kenzie  Schmoll: “Alissa is a hard worker and a teammate you can count on for consistency. She keeps a level head on the field and it's been a joy working side-by-side in the middle infield with her for the last three years.”
 
Buss says with a smile, “I really try to make it a priority to make every player feel welcome on the team. I want them to enjoy playing as much as I have.”
 
Off of the field, the exercise science major is strongly considering a career as a physical therapist. Her reasons are rooted in her desire to help others.
 
“I've always wanted to work in a profession where I help people,” she says. “I like the idea of helping people back to health and back to being able to do the activities they weren't able to do before.”
 
Her interest in the profession was piqued when she helped Rosa complete her own physical therapy. Rosa suffered a fall that required numerous surgeries and Alissa has helped her mother by walking her through the at-home exercises assigned by the physical therapists.
 
“They (the physical therapists) would actually give me her exercises so we wouldn't have to keep going back. It was nice because she would go back to the physical therapist and see that she was progressing very well; that was in large part thanks to me.”
 
Before Buss begins the next stage of her life beyond Linfield, she has one more goal she wants to help achieve: win a national championship.
 
“We have all the potential in the world. In past years, we have started out saying ‘Well, we are good, but we can definitely be better.' This year, we are really good and have the potential to be even better than before.”
 
Last spring, the Wildcats advanced to the NCAA Division III Super Regionals before having their season abruptly ended with a loss to eventual national champion Texas-Tyler.
 
Buss believes this year will be different.
 
“We have a really experienced team. We have great girls, we are all passionate about the sport and we all have the same dream in mind. So this is the year I think we can get it done.”
 
Liam Pickhardt '20
 
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Alissa Buss
Three-year starter at shortstop
 
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