Back in black (and blue): Williamsburg’s Ogden returns to action after car accident

Williamsburg freshman Madi Ogden is dominating in the circle and at the plate for the Lady Wildcats, less than two years after a suffering severe injuries in a car accident.

By Garth Shanklin
Sports Editor

Williamsburg freshman Madi Ogden said her love of sports is a family affair. From her grandparents to her parents and even her sisters, Ogden has always found herself around sports.
“I’ve just always been at the ballpark,” Ogden said. “My papaw and my grammy, they own a ballpark, I grew up there. My papaw was the basketball coach [at Western Brown], my dad’s been a basketball coach, so I’ve just always loved every sport.”
Of all the sports she’s been involved in, Ogden said softball is her favorite. In addition to being the sport she called her best, Ogden got to play with her older sister, Megan. Megan Ogden was Williamsburg’s starting catcher her senior year in 2016, helping the squad advance to the state semifinals.
Madi Ogden joined the team this season as a freshman pitcher/infielder. Through three games in the circle, Ogden has dominated opposing batters. In 15 innings pitched, Ogden has struck out a total of 27 batters while allowing just two hits. She no-hit Clermont Northeastern in her second career start, striking out nine in the process.
Madi Ogden has also made an impact at the plate for the Lady Wildcats. In her team’s most recent game, a 20-0 win over Bethel-Tate, Madi Ogden finished the game with three hits in four at-bats, three runs scored, two RBI and a double. She also drew a walk.
While the on-field victories are impressive in their own right, they pale in comparison to the off-field battles Madi Ogden has been winning of late.
On August 8, 2016, Madi and Megan Ogden were on their way home when they were involved in a car accident. Even now, about a year and a half later, neither one is exacty sure what happened.
“I just remember going to Gold Star,” Madi Ogden said. “I don’t remember anything on the way home, really.”
Both sisters ended up in the hospital. Madi Ogden’s injuries were more severe, as she spent 22 days recovering from various injuries to her brain and body. Her mother, Nicki Ogden, said removing part of Madi’s skull was an option until a miracle occurred.
“She had bleeding and swelling on the brain,” Nicki Ogden said. “They had to put a tube in to relieve the bleeding and the pressure. They talked about taking part of her skull off for a while to let the swelling go down, but luckily when they got in there to do the surgery the swelling had started to go down. The brain shifted back where it belonged. It was a miracle. They were able to put the skull back on there, so her recovery was faster, but she didn’t wake up for three days.”
Madi Ogden underwent brain surgery the day of the accident and had surgery on her pelvis a week later. She still has three screws in the right side of her pelvis, and in July, she’ll have a follow-up appointment with her doctor to evaluate her progress.
In the days immediately following the accident, Madi’s father, Steve Ogden, said his daughter’s condition made it hard for the family to know what exactly was wrong with her.
“We didn’t know the extent of the damage,” Steve Ogden said. “They didn’t know if she had more broken bones in her legs. Nobody had talked to her to know what was hurting her.”
Eventually, Madi woke up. The first words she spoke were to someone who is now a member of the Ogden family, and those words helped her parents know she would be OK.
“She said ‘Hi’ to someone who is now our son-in-law,” Nicki Ogden said. “He married our oldest daughter. We were downstairs talking to some relatives who had come to bring us some stuff, because there were only 10 people in the immediate family that were allowed up to see her.”
Those visits from friends and family are what Madi Ogden said kept her going as she stayed in the hospital rehabbing.
“People would visit me all the time,” Madi Ogden said. “I would see my family all the time, but there would be times my friends would come and visit, or some people I haven’t seen for a long time that felt the need to see me.”
Ogden underwent three different types of rehab, one of which included schoolwork. They did not press her too hard, as they didn’t want to stress her brain, but Ogden said she enjoyed the therapy.
“The therapy, honestly, I thought was pretty fun,” Ogden said. “I enjoyed them. I had something to do during the day. I’m always wanting to push myself to get better, so it was easy for me to want to do more this day than I did yesterday. I worked on walking with crutches, I really wanted to make sure I could walk on crutches. The quicker I could walk, the quicker I could get out of the hospital, so that was something I wanted to do a lot.”
In November of 2016, roughly two months after the accident, Madi Ogden was cleared to return to Williamsburg.
“That was weird, just because I was in a different grade,” Ogden said. “It was exciting just because I got to be back at school. All my teachers, they were excited to see me and everyone was asking how I was and everyone was very welcoming.”
Shortly after that, Ogden was able to return to athletic activities, and she wasted no time doing just that.
“That was awesome,” Ogden said. “The first thing I did was pitch.”
Steve Ogden said they took Madi to a place where she could practice her pitching shortly after they left the hospital.
“We went to the basement at the old high school on the way back from the hospital for her to throw,” Steve Ogden said. “We let her stand and hit off of a tee.”
After that, Madi Ogden said she got to work with the Williamsburg junior high basketball team to help her recover.
“I was working with the junior high basketball team, so after I was cleared I was able to start doing things with them,” Madi Ogden said. “I started to run more, and that was so much fun.”
Even now, Madi Ogden is still not quite back at full strength physically or mentally. She’s close, but she has to continue working to improve the strength in her leg, something she says she’s not used to doing.
“I still don’t have my leg that strong yet,” Ogden said. “To be strong, I’ve never had to work out. I’ve just played sports and made up those muscles. Now I actually have to work out. It’s still not as strong as it used to be. Memory, that’s another one. It doesn’t bother me that much.”
Looking back on the accident and it’s aftermath, the Ogdens agreed on one thing: the amount of support from the surrounding community was overwhelming.
“The amount of support we got from Williamsburg, Mt. Orab, and Hamersville was great,” Steve Ogden said. “Girls that we played softball against, they were just unbelievably supportive.”
The Ogden’s teammates were also supportive, according to Steve Ogden.
“The night of the wreck, when she went to surgery, I came out and there were all of our Shock family,” Steve Ogden said. “Megan’s team or Madi’s team, this group of people came together. They just dropped whatever they were doing and came.”
Family members also stepped up to help the family in the aftermath of the accident. Some helped by raising funds for the Ogdens through t-shirt sales.
“My brother sold t-shirts at Western Brown and her cousin sold t-shirts at Williamsburg,” Steve Ogden said. “It was…I would have never dreamt people would come together like they did for us.”
Other members of the family did what they could to help Megan prepare for her freshman year at Northern Kentucky University.
“Our older daughters took care of Megan, because she was still not well,” Nicki Ogden said. “They stopped what they were doing to help us in the hospital. Megan was getting ready to go to her freshman year of college a couple weeks after this happened. We’re still in the hospital with Madi when she was starting school. That was tough.”
Members of the Williamsburg Board of Education also made their presence known to the Ogdens, offering help in any way they could.
“The school was amazing,” Nicki Ogden said. “[Superintendent Matt] Early and two of the board members were down at the hospital the day after the accident. Madi’s not awake yet, and they’re worried about scholarships and money for her to go to college in four years, so they have to make sure they could make her not be a freshman yet. They had to get everything ready so she wouldn’t be a freshman and to see what the doctors did with her. They were on the ball for what’s best for Madi.”
While some members of the board helped out academically, other members did what they could.
“Another [board member] was here, mowing our yard,” Steve Ogden said.
Support was not just limited to the surrounding area. In the midst of her hospital stay, Madi Ogden mentioned that she was a fan of the Cincinnati Reds.
“I had talked to my therapist the day before about liking the Reds and all my sports,” Madi Ogden said. “I had nothing else to do while I was going through all these things, so I just told them my life story, probably.”
Shortly after that conversation, Ogden had visitors: Cincinnati Reds pitcher Michael Lorenzen and his wife, Cassi.
“They got me back to the room, and there he was with his wife,” Madi Ogden said. “I was just like, ‘Oh my goodness.’ He talked to us for an hour, it was so cool. He follows me on Instagram now. The first time I got to pitch, I let him know. He replied to me really quick, he’s a really great guy.”
The widespread support from around the area is, according to Steve Ogden, why Madi’s recovery has gone the way it has so far.
“When you talked to people, no matter who you talked to, you know all these people were praying for Madi,” Steve Ogden said. “That’s why she is like she is, all the prayers we got.”
Speaking of recovery, how close is Madi to being back to where she was, before the accident?
“She’s about 100 percent,” Nicki Ogden said. “We’re right there.”