By Rick White
CLOVIS — One minute Cisti Greenwalt was driving back to school after spending the weekend with her family. The next she was trapped in her mangled SUV in the middle of a cotton field and wondering if she would live.
Greenwalt, who was released from the hospital Wednesday, said she was lucky she only suffered bruised lungs and bruises and scrapes on her body after being involved in a one-car rollover Sunday on U.S. Highway 84 near Anton, Texas.
“I’m a little sore,” the former Clovis High basketball standout and current Texas Tech Lady Raider said Thursday from her parents’ home in Clovis.
“All I remember was hanging onto the steering wheel and thinking that if I don’t stop rolling over I’m going to die.”
Eyewitnesses told Greenwalt her 2000 Nissan Xterra catapulted 25 to 30 feet into the air and rolled over several times. It left the highway after she said she swerved to avoid a pickup truck that turned east off Farm-to-Market Road 597.
Greenwalt never lost consciousness and was transported to Covenant Medical Center in Lubbock where she spent two days in the Intensive Care Unit.
“This is a prime example of how seat belts save lives,” Lady Raiders team doctor Rebecca Raedeke said. “It’s hard to imagine how she could have survived this rollover if she had not been wearing a seat belt.”
Ironically, Greenwalt said she forgot to put her seat belt on after purchasing gas in Texico until about five minutes before the accident.
“I remember reaching over and putting the seat belt on,” said Greenwalt, a 6-foot-5 center who averaged 7.9 points and 5.7 rebounds last season for the nationally ranked Lady Raiders. “Sometimes I get too busy and forget to put it on right away and then all of a sudden I’ll remember.”
Greenwalt is expected to fully recovery, and hopes to return to practice by mid-September.
“I have three months to get ready for the season,” she said. “We’ll just see how it goes.”
It’s been a tough six months for Greenwalt, who broke her ankle in a game in February and underwent successful surgery and subsequent chemotherapy earlier this summer after doctors discovered a cancerous mole on her back.
Sitting out the season as a medical redshirt is an option, but not one Greenwalt prefers.
“I really don’t want to redshirt, but I don’t want to go into the season out of shape and behind,” she said.
Greenwalt said she had just started working out again last week when the latest mishap occurred.
“Obviously God has a reason for testing me like this, but I wish he’d let me know what it is or at least do it in an easier manner,” Greenwalt said. “I guess I have to just keep going along until I figure out what he wants.”