Derby Health

Derby is physical. It’s a contact sport ladies and with that, there are risks.

So how do you take care of yourself? We ask these questions all the time on message boards and at practice. The truth is, many derby girls don’t have a doctor on speed dial that they can call up and ask-well, a lot of derby girls don’t even have health insurance.

Because I am a journalist, I sort of have that whole speed dial access thing…well sort of. I used my connections in the form of a pretty awesome community relations representative at Community Hospital in Anderson. I emailed Brandy Hill, and she was able to put me touch with Dr. Charlie Williams, a family physician who happens to know about sports injuries and health. After a little phone tag, Dr. Williams and I were able to chat. I asked him the top burning derby girl health questions. Here you go:

What types of injuries should really be watched?

Dr. W: If there is a constant pain, then you should see a doctor. If something comes up that doesn’t hurt too bad, it’s ok to give it a few days. If you hit your head-you should see a doctor. Definitely see a doctor if there is a loss of consciousness. Another problem-constant foot pain. (Maybe not so much with skating) but pain could be a stress fracture in the toes. Any abdominal pain should be watched. If you hit a knee and it swells it’s probably a bruise but a hit to the abdomen that swells could be more serious like a spleen.

What should older athletes keep an eye out for?

Dr. W: Anyone as they get older just needs to be more vigilant with the warning signs of an injury. With any aggressive exercise program, the way to go is to rest.

Derby girls work in a buddy system known as a derby wife. What should this person be able to tell a doctor if there is an injury to their partner?

Dr. W: Perhaps basic health information. IE: the nature of the injury  and perhaps any allergies. If it’s a head injury and the girl was nauseous, vomiting or  unconscious, the hospital needs to know this.

(As a derby girl, I’d say know your wife. You may not always be able to get a hold of a significant other or family member for an injury and you never know how serious it could be. At least know full name, birth date, any medical condition and allergies. This info can be accessed through a derby girl’s USARS application by the board if necessary.)

What’s the best “cure” for sore muscles or bruising?

Dr. W:  If muscles are strained and overly sore, I’d suggest low intensity walking and stretching. I don’t recommend rest. Hydrate with lots of water. If you feel a heating pad works, then by all means, use one. Alternate the heat with ice. For a deep bruise, you should never use heat in the first 48 hours of the injury-use ice.

It’s an intense practice or bout day. What should a derby girl eat?

Dr. W: You need carbs. Load up before on complex carbs because they will give you extended energy. You need protein-grilled or baked-good protein before an event like pork, fish and egg whites.  Again, drink plenty of water and stay hydrated.

I know I probably missed a few questions that some of you really wanted answered. Good news-Dr. Williams shared his email and will answer any follow ups that I/we may have.

Be smart out there ladies-and gents. Common sense and practice will be your biggest ally in keeping healthy with derby.

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