Life as student athlete

Sophomore post has big plans for future on, off court

Mesaged Abakar, Staff Reporter

Kayla Brundidge smiles as her teammates takes her photo on picture day at the Royal Brougham Pavilion Stairwell entrance. (Courtesy of Kayla Brundidge )

Sophomore Kayla Brundidge has always had a busy schedule, from competing in frisbee, volleyball, soccer, track, and softball in middle school and high school, to now being on Seattle Pacific University’s women’s basketball team.

Brundidge is six feet tall, playing on the team as a post. Brundidge is from Fort Lewis, WA, and attended Garfield high school. In addition to sports, Brundidge was a part of the U.S. Air Force Academy Preparatory School for a year post-graduation in 2018.

In high school, Brundidge had a very successful four years of basketball and was a four-time winner of the Garfield girls’ basketball scholar award.

Brundidge focused on playing basketball, which took her to college recruiters’ attention. Although the recruiting process can be intimidating, Brundidge had positive results.

“I did get recruited right away. I was nervous talking to coaches because, at first, I did not know if I wanted to play basketball in college. A lot of the coaches sometimes can be a little overwhelming to make a decision, but it was a fun process.” said Brundidge. “I was really glad to connect with the coaches at SPU and feel the bond with them before I was able to make my decision.”

During her basketball career, Brundidge has suffered from some traumatic brain injuries, or TBI’s.

“I’ve had a couple of concussions that have kept me out for weeks at a time. Whenever I got one in the past, I usually would just rely on Tylenol and sleep.” said Brundidge.

Kayla Brundidge goes up for a shot during the first game of a set played during the last weekend in January against College of Idaho. (Marissa Lordahl)

In a recent game, Brundidge also injured her ankle while battling another player for a rebound. The other player landed on her foot. The trainers believe it was just a bad sprain, but more tests are still in process.

In addition to going to practices and playing in games, athletes also have schoolwork to focus on each night. Communication and a good outlook are always important.

“Sports make it a bit more challenging because I have a lot on my plate than most people do. It is almost like having a full-time job. You always have to be watching the film or practicing or always trying to get better on and off the court.” said Brundidge. “It is definitely doable, as long as I keep up with my work and communicate with professors. It’s not too challenging if you’re really passionate about it.”

Brundidge has chosen biochemistry as a major and is ready to take the next steps, taking on whatever challenges come her way.

“Any major can get overwhelming, but it gets overwhelming when it feels like nobody else understands because everyone else on your team is a different major from you.” Said Brundidge.

To help her succeed, Brundidge is focused on setting short term academic goals.

“Right now, the four-year plan is to graduate with my bachelors in Biochemistry and minor in psychology and move on to possibly Med school at UW or somewhere else down south. I want to go to Med school and possibly be a neurosurgeon or a plastic surgeon,” said Brundidge. “I knew how busy life would be, especially taking harder classes and knowing that my schedule would be so full.”

Kayla Brundidge, Sophomore biochemistry major, guards a College of Idaho player during the January 29th game. (Marissa Lordahl)

Academics and athletics are time intensive and can also be incredibly frustrating. Brundidge has developed ways to deal as a college athlete with challenges.

“I look back on what I want to accomplish, and that keeps me going because I know that if I stop or get complacent, I am not going to truly reach the heights that I want to,” said Brundidge.

It is essential to retain good grades, as athletes need a particular GPA to be maintained. That is one of Brundidge’s goals, and she also has goals on the court for the season.

“For academics, just to keep improving my GPA because it will make me more competitive as a Med school student and try to get more opportunities to volunteer,” said Brundidge. “For basketball-wise, to have a winning record and try to finish this year strong and possibly go into the postseason.”