Roller Derby: Bruises and Broken Bones

The end of 2017, beginning of 2018 was amazing for my little home grown roller derby team, Sin Cal Derby Vixens. We were rolling right along.

We had a captain, co-captain, treasurer, PR, coach, successful fundraisers, and two practice locations. We were going strong. We had bouts scheduled. While most of us were still novices, we’d drawn in some of the previous team members and actually hosting a bout didn’t seem too far fetched.

We started doing more and more aggressive drills. We started doing short scrimmage scenarios.

Then, the injuries started.

During a jam, I went down and had someone land on my right knee. I injured my MCL,  the ligament on my inner knee.

At the time, I was too pumped up on adrenaline to realize how bad it was. I’d already taken a skate to the crotch back in November, I figured a little knee pain wouldn’t stop me. So after the initial pain subsided a bit, I realized the were going to do one of my favorite drills. I put my gear back on and went back out to skate.

It wasn’t a good idea. That night, the pain was so bad I couldn’t sleep. I’m stubborn and didn’t go to the doctor. I figured I could still walk on it, it wasn’t broken. I’d just waste money to have them tell me to wrap it and use anti-inflammatory meds.

I wrapped, iced, elevated, and medicated. But my job called for being on my feet the majority of the time, and I refused to stop skating. So pain lingered for months.

What happened to me was nothing compared to what happened to one of my teammates.

During a practice jam, NotBecky, a fairly new but very good skater, got knocked down.

She went down laughing, but didn’t keep laughing… I’ll never forget it.

As she rolled over, I remember noticing how her ankle seemed to flop in an unnatural position in the air. When she put it down, it was pretty clear it was broken.

We didn’t move her. Everyone took turns supporting and even laughing with our amazing, tough, beautiful, teammate until the ambulance arrived. She wouldn’t let the paramedics cut off her skates. She’d just bought them, she was determined to skate again. The paramedics carefully unlaced them, only cutting off her sock and knee pad.

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NotBecky, cheerful and optimistic. She was even yelling to convince the fresh meat to come back next practice.

It was a rough night for all of us, waiting to see what would happen, how bad the break was. Unfortunately, she ended up breaking three bones in her ankle. She was scheduled for surgery to put in pins and plates.

Haute Donna made t-shirts to support her and at one our next practices we all wore them.

And then, the unbelievable happened. Twisted and Strange, our teammate who had knocked NotBecky out in the play that resulted in the broken ankle, took a hard fall. At first, we thought it was the usual, “oh crap, that hurt” kind of fall. Maybe a sprained ankle, hopefully no more than a bruise.

It was only afterwards that I realized what a badass she was, trying to in essence ‘walk it off’. We pulled her skate off and her ankle started to swell immediately. She couldn’t even walk on it. We wrapped it with an ace bandage and an ice pack.

Practice was clearly over, but we still had to take pictures to send to NotBecky. One of the girls gave Twisted and Strange a piggy-back ride and helped her into her truck.

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We all prayed it was just a sprain.

It wasn’t.

Within 10 days of each other, our team lost two of our best skaters to broken ankles requiring surgery.

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