The realities of roller derby injuries

Roller derby skaters pose with their team, the Springfield Roller Girls, in Amarillo, Texas.

When you join roller derby, you’re fully aware that something could happen to you. The realities of a broken finger, bruised ribs and a twisted ankle are things you deal with every day. I keep telling people that it’s like the military: you don’t become a Marine or soldier thinking you’ll never go to war. The concept is the same in roller derby. Don’t play a full contact sport if you fear getting hurt.

Still, with all of my out-of-place bones, wheel-sized bruises and visits to the chiropractor, I wasn’t particularly ready for the one that came in our final away bout this past Saturday. With 15 minutes left in the second half, I was up to jam. I skated about halfway around the track. From what I could see in the video I watched later, I went in, knowing I needed to break through the pack and ended up wedged between two Route 66 Roller Girls. Next, I remember feeling a big thud and landing on my knees. I stood up and started skating again, only to realize that my left arm was feeling gimpy. When I reached over and felt my collarbone, I instantly knew I broke it.

I fell back down to the floor and tapped my helmet to signal I was hurt. And I don’t really remember much after that, except that I heard my teammates cheering for me. I do remember seeing a guy on the track taking photos of me as the announcer said, “This is roller derby, folks. It’s all real.” I had the urge to vomit (which I did) and I wanted to pass out (which I didn’t do). Eventually, the medics pulled me off of the track to check me out. Then, my friend Tess drove me to the hospital, where I sat for about three hours before getting checked out.

So yes, it hurt. And no, it wasn’t fun visiting an ER in Northwest Texas. Now, the one question people ask? “Are you done with derby?” My answer? NO FREAKING WAY!

Seriously. Derby has saved my soul. The season was almost over, and now I’ve got a fun story to tell. This is only the beginning.

The author sits in the ER in Northwest Texas after breaking a collarbone, one of her many roller derby injuries

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