Sunday, June 12, 2011

Ouch! - Injuries in Women's Football

One of my favorite Outlaws, Lou Ellen "Blue" Berry, had to retire in 2006 because of a major injury to her leg.  This wasn't her first injury, just her worst.  She had earlier suffered a dislocated shoulder and knee injury. 
Blue is small for football - about 5' 3" and she said 126 pounds but I'd guess she was lighter than that.  But she had a big heart and big competitive spirit.  Her dislocated shoulder injury came in a game against Dallas.  "Hurt like heck...popped it back in right there on the field."  I asked if it was worth it, all that pain for a tackle.  She replied:  "It was worth it.  I stopped her.  If they'd got another first down it would have been over.  After that (her stopping the runner) Monica got the winning score with no time left on the clock."

I've lost track of Blue, don't have her current email address.  I want to profile her on this blog and I'd like to update her current situation.  It was the following season when she suffered a broken leg and had to retire from football.  The team honored her at half-time in a game the following season, retiring her jersey.

Injuries are part of the game.  In my player interviews I always ask about that aspect of playing.  Dena Dixon, now retired, was a real estate agent when she played for the Outlaws.  A fellow agent chided her on the risk of injury.  Then he had an accident riding his bike and broke a leg.  Dena talked about the bruises. . "I think bruises are cool."  She was checking out at a grocery store after a particularly bruising game and the cashier said, "Girl, you have to leave him..."

The players all acknowledge pain following games and practices.  And recognize injuries happen.  But that doesn't diminish their love of the game. 

The most common injuries are to the knees.  The knee, someone said, wasn't designed for football.

But the knees aren't the only targets of game injuries.  Arms can get worked over pretty good in a football game. 


And of course there are the really creative injuries.  Lily broke an ankle and dislocated a heel in the final game of her ninth season.  She still managed to return and start all the games in her tenth season.  

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