I skated out for my first WRD bout on the 13th August 2017. I was nervous, I made mistakes, but I went out there and skated with my team. It helped that we won as that just boosted my confidence.

I was all set for my second bout on the 1st October 2017; I had trained, I had observed and listened to my team mates and was ready for the challenge. Unfortunately, at training on the 26th September 2017 I took a spectacular hit to the shoulder that spun me, lifted me off the ground and landed me on my ribs. It happened so quickly, that I didn’t even try to put my hands out to stop myself.

After the initial shock subsided, I tried to get up but the pain in my side put a stop to that. I crawled to the centre of the track and tried to convince one of our first aiders, through fought back tears, that I was fine and nothing was broken. She wasn’t convinced and after some feeble attempts to placate the team, I was taken to A&E. Sure enough I had fractured two of my ribs (and had a small puncture in my lung, though this wasn’t discovered until I ended up back there two weeks later!)

I was out for 4-6 weeks (extended to at least 8 when they discovered the lung puncture), yet here I am 17 weeks later and still not back on skates. I’m still actively involved with the league in an official’s capacity, but I’ve finally accepted that I’ve got the fear and right now feel scared to put my skates back on.

I’ve never had to come back from an injury before, in fact, prior to the rib fracture, I’d never broken a bone in my entire 36 years on this earth. This is completely new territory for me. The injury affected my ability to care for my family (it is heart-breaking when all your two year old wants is to be picked up, but you can’t do it) and impacted on my job.

I have seen skaters in our league come back from worse injuries than mine, and in a shorter space of time, so why can’t I? The fear is strong in this one! If I return to skating now, clearly scared and not mentally prepared, will I just create a self-fulfilling prophecy of thinking I will get injured again, and it happening? The wariness, the fearfulness that injury produces means I’m scared to participate with the intensity that the sport demands. My head is not there yet.

I’m still a part of this amazing derby world and I know I’m doing what’s right for me and my team, but I still feel guilt, frustration and a lack of confidence at my inability to just get over it. I’ve resigned myself to the fact that Champs season is upon us, and I won’t be starting it as a skater. Who knows, maybe I’ll wake up one day soon and just know that it is time to get back on my skates, I’ll be mentally prepared to kick fear’s ass, but until then I’ll be putting my best officiating foot forward.



Photo credit: NSP 189