TAMPA — Laura Fountain didn't know the opposing player she saw writhing in pain after a nasty outfield collision shattered her leg.
But the USF catcher knew two days later Summer Comstock would be lonely on Easter Sunday. Comstock's St. John's teammates had packed up and returned to New York after the game.
So Fountain packed up an Easter basket and headed to Florida Hospital Tampa near the USF campus to visit the St. John's player with two broken bones in her right leg.
"I wanted her to know someone was thinking about her," said Fountain, a pre-med student for the 40-6 Bulls who will graduate next month with a degree in biomedical sciences. "We were all thinking about her. She's going through so much, so having somebody to talk to, even for a little bit, would help take her mind off just sitting in a hospital."
Fountain has visited Comstock several times since the April 6 injury, offering the welcome gifts of friendship, conversation and even a milkshake and M&Ms.
"She seems totally like someone I would hang out with," said Comstock, who has had multiple surgeries but hoped to be released late Tuesday. "She would come by, and we just talked and talked, but it was a lot of fun."
Comstock, whose parents had flown in after the injury from Utah, had titanium rods surgically inserted in both bones, but had a harrowing experience the next day when she was rushed into emergency surgery due to a painful reaction known as "compartment syndrome," which can lead to amputation. Her leg was saved, but she has been told she will not be able to walk for another two or three months as she recovers at home in Utah.
Comstock wants to return to play softball for St. John's and has a redshirt year available to give her more time for a full recovery, but she's also excited about what really brought her there, the school's sports management program. She landed a three-month internship at Nike headquarters in Oregon, and won't let the injury keep her from that experience in June.
"She's such a fun person, so positive," Fountain said. "To be able to go through what she's going through and be so positive, it was good to be around someone like that. It helped me."