Roller Derby is a dangerous sport. I have several friends who are or were part of the local roller derby universe. Injuries are an expected part of life for roller derby participants.
One of my friends is a lawyer who grew tired of transactional real estate law. She joined a derby team, treated herself to some nice ink, died her hair blue, and had some fun in her life for the first time since law school. She counts two broken ankles and a dislocated shoulder among the derby injuries she accumulated over the last six year.
In this blog, I want to introduce you to Muffin - an occupational therapist who skates for a roller derby team in Colorado. Muffin was 22 when she had a little derby accident in 2012. In her own words: "I was coming up behind a blocker, rapidly closing the gap between them and preparing to do a trick in which I pretend to stop and then speed away. But on that day, my move didn't work as planned. That rapid stopping motion basically ripped my ankle off. My foot was backward as I was falling through the air, and when I hit the ground, my bone shattered. My foot looked like Linda Blair's head in the movie The Excorsist."
The result was so disturbing that one of Muffin's teammates took one look at her foot, projectile-vomited and then passed out. The injury scene has been memorialized in a now-famous Facebook photo that shows Muffin sprawled on the track on her stomach, her left foot extended behind her with that skate pointing downward in a normal way and her right leg bowed out to the side, as if she were Army-crawling across the floor. Her right foot is pointed straight up toward the ceiling, and if you look closely, her right ankle looks a bit like a spiral staircase.
Fortunately for Muffin, one of the skaters on the team is an orthopedic surgeon. Her roller derby name is Dr. Kimmy Kimmy Bang Bang. She is a quiet muscular blond woman. Her real name is Kim.
Dr. Bang Bang went into action carefully removing Muffin's skate and overseeing the removal of poor Muffin from the track and into an ambulance. Only a fellow skater would take care not to cut off Muffin's skate. Dr. Bang Bang took great care to cut only the laces and then carefully remove Muffin's mangled foot from the skate.
At the ER, Dr. Bang Bang put Muffin's foot into some semblance of proper orientation. By that time, Muffin was nearly comatose from shock, pain, horror, and drugs.
Surgery would of course be required to fix the ankle. The surgery and follow-up treatment was estimated to cost $70,000 (US). Muffin had no health insurance. In the following days, $70,000 was raised to pay for Muffin's surgery through a combination of a Global Gofundme and some grant money found by Dr. Bang Bang.
Surgery was successful but it would 7 months before Muffin could wear two shoes and walk unaided. During her convalescence, she became interested in art and began sketching.
To that Muffin recovered from the injury would be an understatement. Within two, years, she was bcack on skates. Muffin's derby career was over due to the risk if contact with other skaters. But she was in full swing in her local skate park.