Softball coach honored by league, family

A normal game day turned into a nightmare for the Sweet Thunder softball team.
Coach and dugout mom Carla Kudrna, 37, suddenly had a seizure in the dugout around 8 p.m. at their game on April 22. She was then rushed to the hospital and was pronounced dead around noon April 23. It was later determined the seizure was caused by an aneurism, said Jennifer Sechrist who coached Sweet Thunder with Kudrna and Kudrna’s husband Travis for the last few years.
Even with reason behind her death, Kudrna’s family and team weren’t left any less shocked and grief filled.
“It was a shock. It was just so sudden. She was fine that day. We talked. She was having a great time in the dugout and I think that’s what is so shocking about it. It makes you realize that life really is short so I think that’s been the hardest part,” Sechrist said. “One of her daughters and one of her teammates was in the dugout when it happened so those two are definitely struggling. I think they’re all in varying levels of grief. There are 12 of them and they all are handling it differently. We’re just handling them one by one and getting them what they need.
“We did have practice Tuesday (April 25) and I think that was very therapeutic for the kids and for their families.”
During the April 25 practice Sechrist and Travis played kickball with the girls instead of softball.
“It was good to hear them all laughing and carrying on,” Sechrist said. “Softball, if you’re not in it, you don’t realize how much of a family it is. It’s a very tight community. I’ve had teams from all over reach out and wish their condolences to us.”
The Blanchard Bullets made all the girls individual gift baskets, the Kingfisher Yellowjackets made cookies for last Thursday’s game and Mustang’s own Lady Bugs hosted the ceremony during last Thursday’s game and had balloons for each girl to release in Kudrna’s honor.
The Lady Bugs are coached by Kudrna’s brother Troy and Amy Jones. Jones emceed the ceremony that preceded Thursday’s game.
Since Thursday’s game was against the Lady Bugs, they thought it would be the perfect game to honor Kudrna the best way they knew how.
Teams from the whole league came onto the field for the ceremony. Jones spoke about Kudrna and softball then they had a moment of a silence followed by a prayer. The girls then released the balloons in Kudrna’s honor.
A lot of Kudrna’s family also attended the game to honor her life.
“The ceremony was great. There was a lot of people there and a lot of support. It was what [Kudrna] would’ve wanted. She was always on the softball field. The kids loved the balloon release and just getting a moment to talk about her was good. We ended up losing by one point to the Lady Bugs, but we gave it our all. They were very brave, the 12 girls, to go out there and get over that hump and play ball. It was tough. It was tough on the coaches, it was tough on the girls, but they were all super brave and went out there and gave it their all. I think that’s what they needed,” Sechrist said. “Softball is a very tight knit community and our softball team is like a family. I think that’s going to help all of us get through it.”
Sweet Thunder made car stickers and stickers for the back of the girls’ helmets with her name in a heart with angel wings. The girls were also given bracelets made for them by the Lady Bugs that said the team’s name and Kudrna’s initials.
Sechrist said they’re working on some other things to honor Kudrna but they aren’t finalized so she’s not able to say.
Kudrna was a stay-at-home mom of three daughters, MacKenzie, Kaylee and Kelsey, that she was very proud of. Her oldest, 16, is n band in Tuttle and Kudrna loved to go watch her play, Sechrist said. The other two play softball.
“She never missed a game. She was always there,” Sechrist said.
Kudrna loved to go camping and take her three dogs with her, and she enjoyed fishing.
Sechrist said Kudrna also loved painting her daughters’ nails and they would always come with different colors.
“That was their thing,” Sechrist said. “Travis and the girls are now learning what life looks like with just the four of them without mom around.
“She was a very giving person. She was always taking care of everybody. She took care of her girls, she took care of her husband and she also took care of all the softball girls in the dugout. She always knew what they needed before they needed it. She was just very giving.”
Kudrna continued her giving nature into death because she was an organ donor. Through LifeShare, Kudrna was able to save five people’s lives, Sechrist said.
Sechrist added that she’s going to miss Kudrna’s constant positivity and always being there for the girls on the team.
“She was just always so happy,” Sechrist said. “If I was struggling she was always first one to text me to check if I was alright. She was just a very caring person.”
Kudrna is the daughter of Mustang Councilman Jess Schweinberg.
“I want to thank the Council for their support these last 10 days,” Schweinberg said during Tuesday’s City Council meeting. “I’m telling you folks something right now—The staff of the City of Mustang is phenomenal. Not only the job that they do, but the compassion and no strings attached that they did for my family. I can’t—I wish I could send thank you cards to everybody. The prayers have been well appreciated.”
Mayor Jay Adams, along with other Council members used some of their discussion time to send their hearts and prayers to Schweinberg.
“After this week, Councilman Schweinberg’s strength is something that I hope I have later on in life as well. The way he’s taken care of his family and taken care of the City of Mustang,” Adams said.
Kudrna’s funeral was hosted last Friday at Life.Church Mustang.

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