In 2011, Tazmin Brits was involved in a horrific car accident which left her gravely injured and losing the will to live.
Her dream of taking part in the London Olympics as a javelin thrower was also shattered as she lay in a hospital bed for three months.
“I had to teach myself to pull up to put the pan under me to pee, or get off the bed to get onto a commode. I had to teach myself to walk,” she told the BBC in an interview.
The near-fatal crash happened at Potchefstroom, where Brits had been celebrating her qualification for the Games.
A brief lapse in concentration meant she lost control and was flung out of her car.
She suffered a broken pelvis and hip and punctured bladder. She required multiple painful surgeries.
“I thought I wouldn’t be able to walk again, I wouldn’t be able to do sports again,” she told womenscriczone.com in 2019.
She added: “Along with my dream went all my sponsorships and will to live.
“I attempted to end my life on more than one occasion. I felt lost and had no direction.”
A world junior champion in javelin in 2007, Brits was rescued by cricket and on Sunday she will attempt to spark South Africa to victory over hot favourites Australia in the Women’s T20 World Cup final.
Injuries were on her mind again on Friday when Brits took a spectacular flying catch to dismiss England’s Alice Capsey in South Africa’s stunning six-run semi-final win at Newlands.
“When I dived, I thought it was a vein that popped, it stood out. But they pushed it down. We weren’t sure if it was a bone or not,” the 32-year-old said.
“I said to Mo our physio, please let me go back on the field. The doctor and him just made sure there were no bones broken.”
HIGHLIGHTS: Proteas vs England
Brits’ all-round performance on Friday saw her grab four catches after hitting 68 in her team’s total of 164-4.
After her javelin dreams faded, Brits made her international cricket debut in 2018 but missed out on the squad for the 2020 T20 World Cup.
Her form at the 2023 tournament has, however, been on an upward curve, reflecting the team’s changing fortunes.
Scores of 12 and one were followed by 45 against Australia and 50* in the final group game against Bangladesh, which allowed South Africa to sneak into the semi-finals on net run rate.
Her run blitz on Friday came off 55 balls and featured six fours and two sixes.
On Sunday, Brits will attempt to script a fairytale finish in front of home fans at Newlands.
“I think today we almost basically clicked. I’m hoping everything clicks against Australia,” said Brits. “I think we’ve always believed that we can do it.”
© Agence France-Presse