After being hit by a car, a Bonny Eagle student, inspired by the memory of two coaches who died, graduated with honors on Friday.

Sarah Sargent of Buxton was hit from behind by a car in March last year while running along Route 35 near the high school with her lacrosse team. She suffered a lacerated kidney, a cut forehead, and every bone in her right front foot was broken diagonally. The accident also left her with nerve damage in her leg, preventing Sargent from flexing her foot.

The daughter of Sue and John McFarland, Sargent was hit by a car driven by an elderly woman, who has since died, about 10 a.m. on a Monday morning. Sargent recalls before and after the accident, but doesn’t remember being hit by the car.

“I was spinning and landed almost 10 feet from where she hit me,” Sargent said her teammates told her.

“I was on the ground crying, and I saw blood. I was almost in shock.”

Her teammates, who witnessed the incident, were shaken. “One of the girls threw up. They were all crying, they were upset,” Sargent said.

Standish Rescue took Sargent to Maine Medical Center. A school spokesman told her mother by telephone that her daughter had been hit.

“She beat the ambulance to the hospital,” Sargent said of her mother.

At the hospital, Sargent was calling for her mother. “She was the first person I wanted,” she said.

A long recovery

Doctors put a cast on her foot and she was given a CAT scan of her head, checking for injuries. A plastic surgeon sewed up her bleeding forehead, and the wound healed without a visible scar.

She was released from the hospital later that same day. “That Monday night I couldn’t sleep, my back hurt,” Sargent said.

Her mother took her to a specialist. On Friday, doctors found a kidney injury. The prescription was two weeks of bed rest. As an athlete who played field hockey and basketball besides lacrosse, being confined to bed wasn’t easy. “It was so hard for me,” Sargent said.

On crutches for three months, recovery was a rough road.

She sat out the lacrosse season but she said observing from the sidelines was a learning experience. However, being sidelined was tough. “I used to go home and cry. It was so frustrating,” she said. “The team was frustrated, too.”

Physical therapy occupied the summer months. She attended a basketball clinic at Husson College but couldn’t play with her team.

“I felt it was going to take forever to get ready to play,” she said about getting back in shape.

Sargent received medical clearance in time to play in the first field hockey game when September came. She played lacrosse this year and her team made the playoffs.

Through the ordeal, she was inspired by the memory of two Bonny Eagle coaches who died while she was a student. Faith Littlefield died in 2001 and Flossie Smith in 2003. “They were two of the best coaches we’ve had at Bonny Eagle,” Sargent said.

She said Smith, a lacrosse coach, was very encouraging. Even with her health deteriorating, she was at every game. “Flossie always said ‘keep the faith,'” Sargent remembered.

It inspired Sargent and her teammates. “It’s a team thing,” Sargent said.

Sargent had Littlefield, a field hockey coach, in gym class as a freshman and described Smith as intimidating. “Flossie was like the mother, and Faith was more demanding. She would yell at you. She wouldn’t beat around the bush,” Sargent said. “The losses affected the whole school.”

She didn’t forget the life lessons taught by the two coaches. “I learned to never give up. Not just in sports but your grades in school,” Sargent said.

Looking to the future

One of 11 senior girls in field hockey who made the Southern Maine Activities Association all academic team, Sargent was on the honor roll every semester in all four years. She even made the honor roll the semester when she lost three weeks of school because of the accident.

“I just had to sit down and make sure I did my homework,” she said.

The sports experience played a major roll in her academic comeback. “Playing sports makes you budget your time to make sure you get your work done,” Sargent said.

With a goal of being a math teacher, Sargent will be entering the University of New Hampshire this fall. “The biggest change will be not seeing familiar faces while walking through the hallways,” she said.

Earning college money this summer, she’ll be working 40 hours weekly in the corporate offices of Hannafords in Scarborough. Beginning in her sophomore year, she worked as a cashier at Hannafords in Standish.

Besides school and playing three sports, she found time for jazz, tap and ballet lessons at All That Dance in Buxton. Drawing and pottery making are her hobbies.

Smiling last week, she jokes about the ordeal now and said there’s a little pain in her foot when the weather is bad. The kidney doctor gave her a clean “bill of health” last week, four days before her graduation on Friday at the Civic Center in Portland. Looking forward to graduation, she described her feelings as “not nervous, excited.”

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