Playing together for most of their life, the Waxahachie Lady Indians will be without one of its top defenders early this season as senior Tori Bingham was involved in a vehicle accident four days before the 2011 season opened.

Bingham and the rest of the Lady Indians took part in a preseason clinic July 25-27 to prepare for the upcoming season before she suffered life-threatening injuries in the one vehicle accident on the I-35 service road Thursday evening.

The accident rocked the Lady Indians but the steady recovery Bingham has made has becoming a rallying point for the team.

“Tori’s accident has been pretty hard on the team. Many of us have played together since the fourth grade and we aren’t only teammates we are best friends,” senior team captain Sophie Stevens said. “It’s extremely tough to see one of your best friends in this situation. Tori is the hardest working person I know and I’ve never realized how much one person could impact a team. She is going to be missed but everything we do is for Tori. This whole season is 100 percent for Tori.”

With tryouts looming the attention of the Lady Indians was on their fallen teammate as they made daily trips to the hospital to visit Bingham while coming up with ways to show their support.

“Every day a group of us has been going up to the hospital to visit her and we will every day until she’s back in uniform with us. I love Tori with all of my heart and can’t wait to have her back. Her strength is a huge inspiration to everyone,” Stevens said.

Several members of the program wore T-shirts during tryouts to support Bingham while posting on Facebook that they were doing all their drills in honor of her.

Off the court, several events are taking place to help the Bingham family with medical expenses. Chick-fil-A will be holding a spirit day in honor of Bingham from 6 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday, Aug. 8. In order to donate, orders must be placed inside with the receipt placed in the designated jar and a percentage of the purchase will be given to the Bingham family. Wednesday, Aug. 10, a car wash at Chicken Express will be held to help raise money starting at 5 p.m.

L&B Photography will be holding free mini sessions, with donation, that includes a 30 minute session and a CD as well as a copyright release. All proceeds will go to the Bingham family.

Donation jars have been placed around Waxahachie to help raise funds. Jars are at Chick-fil-A, IHOP, Starbucks, Whataburger, Fuzzy’s, Merry Toppins, Sun Yur Bunz and The Chisolm Grill.

The team plans to wear “Team Tori” shirts during warm-ups Monday before their game against Midlothian while Bingham will be represented at each game with her jersey and her favorite teddy bear, “Herberta.”

“We are missing Tori. This team has really rallied around her, but she is definitely being missed right now,” Waxahachie head coach Sandy Faussett said. “We are hoping and praying for her recovery.”

Bingham is known by her teammates as a hardworker and she has shown that in her recovery as she has blown the doctors away with the amount of progress she has made in a short period of time.

“Tori has a huge impact on this team and we really miss her,” senior captain Cara Partington said. “She is the most hardworking player I have ever met and we have no doubt that she’s going to pull through this and be fine. She is our inspiration every day we are out there on the court. We are going to make sure she is a part of everything we do this year and the season is definitely dedicated to her. We know she wants us to continue our goals and work even harder just as she would do.”