Bellarmine field hockey athlete embraces therapy amid traumatic experience

Bellarmine field hockey defender Alexa Rastigue found success on the field while battling through adversity off it.
Published: Nov. 6, 2023 at 6:24 AM EST|Updated: Nov. 6, 2023 at 12:05 PM EST
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Bellarmine field hockey defender Alexa Rastigue found success on the field while battling through adversity off it.

In 2022, with a weekend full of field hockey matches, several family members decided to give Rastigue a visit and watch several of her field hockey matches.

”My mom and oldest brother came down, and they surprised me with my brother’s girlfriend at the time,” Rastigue said. “She was like the sister I never had.”

After watching the defender compete throughout the weekend, the three took got back on the road to return home in Michigan. The trio did not complete their trip.

”My brother’s phone said it was at ProMedica Hospital in Toledo, Ohio,” Rastigue said. “I am in that moment trying to talk myself out of it like nothing is wrong.”

Alexa received a phone call indicating the three were involved in a seven-car collision due to a drunk driver.

“They said there had been an accident and immediately my heart just dropped,” Rastigue said. “I found out that my mom was in emergency surgery at a different hospital and Kassidi didn’t make it. When I got that call, my heart just sank.”

Alexa’s mother and brother would go through numerous surgeries, surviving the crash in the process. The thought of losing Kassidi was too much to process for Rastigue.

”I was too in the mindset of I’m fine, everything is fine, but I wasn’t,” Rastigue said.

”It’s hard as an athlete to seek support and help, but it was especially hard for Alexa because of her circumstances,” Norton Sports Health Mental Health Specialist Paula Struck said.

After encouragement from her coach, Rastigue sought out therapy through Norton Sports Health.

”As a Division I athlete, you’re dealing with so much, like physical fatigue, running all the time, working out, that this is almost a breather and a break,” Rastigue said. “I used to believe in the stigma that I didn’t need therapy and now looking back on it, it can only help you.”

Rastigue began working with Paula Struck, going on walks weekly while getting the therapy she needed. After seven full months of therapy, Rastigue said she is back on the right track mentally.

”She has continued to grow and evolve, she has put in the work, she is really processing the emotions, and is allowing herself to feel things that are difficult to feel,” said Struck. “Alexa has demonstrated she is not only resilient in sport, she is resilient in life.””I am able to talk about it and not break down and cry,” Rastigue said. “I am able to say Kassidi’s name and not break down and cry.”