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Windy City Rollers Fri Feb 08 2013

Back in Action: WCR Skaters Return From Injuries

When Tammy Matthews straps on her skates Saturday, exactly 51 weeks will have passed since she had surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in her right knee.


Matthews, who skates for the Hell's Belles of the Windy City Rollers as Hermione Danger, tore her ACL in a scrimmage in December of 2011 and had surgery to repair it Feb. 16, 2012. She's one of a few WCR skaters making their return to action Saturday as the Rollers' home squads face off.

Tomorrow's bout against the Double Crossers marks the first full-length bout Matthews has skated in since October of 2011, though she skated in two half-bouts in the Rollers' mini-tournament Jan. 26.

"It was a very long recovery process," she said.

Matthews, who just last weekend tried out for and made the Second Wind (the Rollers' B-team), remembers exactly how she injured her knee.

"I was blocking and I hit a girl," she said. "I just went in really hard and my leg was hyper-extended. I felt the snap. I heard it. I screamed really loud. I fell down."

As painful as the injury was, Matthews said the pain following her surgery was worse.

"When I woke up, it was pain like I had never felt before," she said.

Lauren Worth injured herself in a scrimmage last February. Worth, who skates for the Hell's Belles under the name Bloody Elle, was jamming and tried to make a move past a blocker, but said she lost control, fell and broke her sacrum -- a bone in the back above the tailbone.

Though painful, she said adrenaline kept her from knowing the true extent of the injury for a while. But once the adrenaline wore off, she said, the pain came with a vengeance.

"It felt like somebody was stabbing me with a knife and turning it every time I would stand up and sit down," Worth said.

It wasn't for several months that Worth was able to get back on skates. She tried after about three and a half months, but fell on her sacrum and bruised it, causing her to miss even more time.

Beyond the pain of the injury, Worth said she also had to overcome fear of re-injuring herself. And while that fear can keep you from getting hurt, Worth said it can also cause skaters to concentrate more on avoiding the injury and less on the game.

"The fear can be a self-fulfilling prophesy," she said. "I don't have that anymore, thankfully."

Despite their injuries, both Worth and Matthews knew they'd be back on skates as soon as possible.

"You do what you need to do to keep going," Matthews said.

Photo by Steve Stearns

If you go

What: First full bouts of the Windy City Rollers' home season.
When: Saturday, Feb. 9. The action kicks off at 6pm with The Fury taking on last years Ivy King Cup champion Manic Attackers. That bout will be followed by the Hell's Belles taking on the Double Crossers.
Where: UIC Pavilion, 525 S. Racine Ave.
How much: $20 for general admission and $35 for trackside seats.

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