Wednesday, 25 June 2014

ACL Injury Pt 1 - Black Friday in Chicago

It was Black Friday alright. I was warming up on field at Sears Centre Arena at Hoffman Estates, Illinois. After the team warm ups our 2 Defensive Ends and I huddled with Coach Ryan to get some reps in. I was starting Middle Linebacker, subbed often as a Wide Receiver on goal line and back up Centre. Coach John came over and gave word kick off time was running slightly behind, we could either head back to the change room and keep warm or stay on field. I wanted reps, I wasn't playing continually both ways so endurance wasn't a concern tonight. We began running through a few swim techniques, mine were progressing to vicious and fast. In the weeks leading up Id been focusing on keeping the jab short and sharp, not opening up my armpit leaving a gigantic target to block. On the third or fourth rep my elbow swung too close to Coach's temple and BAM. I'd jammed him with a fierce blow, dark red blood oozed from a deep eyebrow gash. He swore and asked me to find his glasses which were somewhere smashed on the field. I called the team medic who took Coach back to the change room to get temporarily repaired. After the initial shock at all the blood he was cool but I felt terrible, the game hadn't even started. 

Coach Ryan headed straight to Hospital post game for stitches

The defensive players were introduced onto the field, a short piece we had filmed earlier that day was shown before individual field entrances. My face flashed on the big screen and I aggressively said 'This is Shari Onley THE Aussie Assassin and YOUR middle linebacker! Seattle - I flew all the way from Sydney to Chicago just to bust your ass!! I DARE you to run up the middle tonight!' The footage was quality, when I film those pieces I think of something that will fire the crowd up. You only need to say the word CHICAGO in front of a home crowd and they go nuts, loyalty at its finest, I knew it would be all time. But the audio wasn't jacked up enough. Here I am on screen beating chest, finger pointing into camera, mute warrior cry, blah blah, whatever... it was futile, no one could hear a word of what I said. Such a let down. Still I did my standard bust out through smoke onto the field launched onto the sideline railing stood like a possessed freak and commanded the crowd to make some noise. And they did. They cheered and snapped away on their phones. I had half my face painted Dia de Muertos 'day of the dead' style, a few people gasped, I was scary enough without my face painted but we were ready to put on a show tonight. One of the Bliss Rookies Jori Parys, also a professional singer, sung the Anthem. Again, the audio wasn't loud enough, ugggh it sounded like it wasn't even on! Jesus christ who was running this shit show? The patriotic crowd joined in half way through the anthem to save a trickle of embarrassment. Audio dude you'll be Donald Trumped by now. 

Is #10 Kim Perez looking at my face paint? Little did she know she would be playing middle linebacker tonight

After only a few series of the game, a couple of minutes in I was in pursuit of a Seattle player who had the ball thrown to her. She layed out to catch the ball, fumbled (which I couldn't see from my position behind her) and as I came down to tackle her I felt my knee shift. I experienced more of a dislodgement of the knee cap rather than a pop, some brief numbness then relatively severe pain. Dammmmm that initial feeling of intense pain never got any easier, a rush of so many disappointing emotions, reminded me of my old netball days when we'd sprain ligaments in our ankle every other week. Most netballers knees and ankles were shot from the sudden stop start of the game. LFL Doctor and Chicago medics Scott & Nick from The Wellness Source came on field and after a few tests helped me hop off. As I got to my feet I thought perhaps it wasn't as bad as what was initially felt. I vaguely remember the announcer saying my name and the crowd clapping me off, it's all a blur. Back in the change room we did a series of tests, our trainers said it didn't seem to be the ACL or MCL. Thanks the lord. I tried walking every step becoming more painful with sharp twinges stopping me. I sat on the edge of the change table as tears welled up in my eyes. I took off my gloves, and PPE gear and ferociously launched them across the change room. My shoulder pads were miked up again that game, the audio recorded is normally passionate F bomb after F bomb at the opposition, tonight it was at myself. Together with game day adrenaline I was angry, angry at myself, angry at my knee, angry at how early in the game it was, angry at this god for saken situation I was in on Friday 13th.

Not a collision impact, more rotational
Team mates #15 Heather 'Rockstar' Furr and #10 Kimbo 'Slice' Perez look on
Hearing the crowd roar outside the only thing I could wonder was whats the score.... I asked our trainer what the score was, how would he know Shari he's been looking after your angry ass. 'Get me back out there.'  'But theres only 4 minutes to go in the half by the time we ...' 'I DONT CARE GET ME OUT THERE.' 

A friend who took this picture would later jokingly post on Facebook 'Shari Onley thrown out of game for fighting. Complete bullshit. You knock a girl out cold for 7 minutes with one punch, not only should you be able to stay in the game you should get a trophy. #TalkShitGetHit'

With the help of crutches we hobbled back to the end zone, I waited for the play to stop and crept back onto the field to get into the bench. I gave my best gratitude smile to the Chicago crowd as they clapped and yelled words of encouragement to #11. All I could focus on was the game. Wheres the momentum, what did I miss, does Kim know her assignments in my position, who's doing what. I sat in the bench for the rest of the game. Crowds are always supportive at our games. Most of them realize the game has changed from the days of Lingerie football tiny petite framed models prancing around. They know and appreciate  what we go through to actually take that field.  My team mates stopped by wondering if Im okay. Focus off me I'm fine, back onto the game, high fives, keep working my sisters, #19 Telly gets sent off for unsportsmanlike conduct for a series. Torn between yelling at the girls, getting the crowd fired up, yelling at the ref 'get Seattles #7 off she's covered in blood Roger, open your fucking eyes' God damn home game referees, why did we always feel like we were playing away with the amount of penalties they gave us? Roger...what the fuck... ROGER!!!? Coach Hac was rubbing off on me. Id always had a bit of Hac in me, relatively patient until its something Im passionate about the STEP THE HELL OUT MY WAY. It's why he'd imported you from Down Under, part of the reason you were 'Bliss Material'. 

Post game I hobbled up to the meet and greet table, I was the first to arrive to the line of fans wanting autographs and pictures taken. I was never first to arrive. I was always last. I'd put on deodorant, go to the bathroom, powder my nose, the fans shouldn't have to witness me without that. #1 Allie Alberts my roommate, my sister, grabbed the seat next to me #18 Hallie Jiskra our other import from Green Bay sat next to her. Good I needed them, we needed each other after that ridiculous draw.  I love the fans and appreciate them so much, anyone who reads my social media knows I actively post to keep everyone up to date but that night I just went through the motions. Brain numb, icy cold knee exterior, burning hot inside. Wondering, contemplating what would come of this pain.

Thank you David for being such a loyal supporter of myself and the Bliss 

#5 Deena Fagiano and #13 ChrisDell 'The Ferrari' Harris drove me to the Bliss after party. Despite feeling like collapsing after a home game we try to drop in briefly and say hi to everyone. Except this time I didn't deserve rest, I wasn't tired I had played a couple of minutes, nothing compared to my teammates. Corey Kelly was waiting at the bar, he was my all round go to guy in Chicago. A jacked vegan bodybuilder and  yoga guru who broke down all stereotypes about vegans. He owned/ directed SkyBalance Fitness and SkyBalance Med Spa  was Practice Manager and co owner at Skypoint Medical Practice and had set up TriBalance Yoga Centre. His facilities had looked after all my treatment in Chicago, maintenance and game week massage, chiro, facials, microderm, keratin hair treatments, they even did a vampire facial on me, which I loved. Do not believe the hype around Kim Kardashians dramatic performance when she had one on her reality show! Corey was a practitioner who valued the mind body connection, I felt very comfortable around him, he exuded a positive aura for his holistic approach. We shared a similar mindset to health on so many levels. He ordered me a beer, propped me up on a stool and cradled my knee, examined it and told me he'd book ultrasounds and MRI scans first thing tomorrow. Given his knowledge and expertise I felt relieved knowing he would look after it for me. 

Everyone kept asking if I was using new makeup, it was my Sky Balance glow

After our LA game the tables were turned.  What goes around comes around.  Deena had unknowingly mixed some medication and together with post game low blood sugar levels she suffered a huge crash spending until sunrise throwing her guts up. We monitored Deena at #20 Yashi 'The Incredible' Rice's house (RnB star and sister of former NFL star and pro bowler Simeon Rice)  while she hugged the toilet bowl for what seemed like an eternity. I know if I don't eat sugar immediately post game, regardless of how I feel at that moment, guaranteed I get pale, light headed and queazy. Meanwhile ChrisDell had taken an absolute bashing on the run game and was suffering serious knee pain. This woman is an absolute warrior who will keep marching no matter what. But this night getting into Yashi's building through revolving doors was like a scene out of a nursing home. Her in one section me in another slowly inching the door around so she could shuffle and slide her way in. She was in so much pain wincing with any movement. Pain killers and ice were on order once we got upstairs and she moaned her way to sleep while her Mum watched carefully. This is the real LFL people. 

On the drive home Deena and I stopped for ice cream, the 7 Eleven cashier asked if we were cheerleaders for the Chicago Bears since we were in Chicago colours. Really? These massive tree trunk legs did a triple backward air somersault Deena was supposed to catch me but her jacked biceps failed and I landed wrong, THAT Mr 7 Eleven cashier , is why I, this beast of a woman who just bought out your ice-cream and candy section, is on crutches. I don't understand when people say they had a splurge on chocolate if they ate one row of squares. On the odd occasion I do I splurge I do so for myself and half of Africa. Two bags of extra salty chips, 2 ice creams, 2 candy bars, 2 pastries, a bag of lollies and a newborn child. Getting jacked naturally is soooo simple. Don't skip meals, instead ADD them. When you think you've eaten enough, eat more just to be sure. I'm not perfect but this blog is my reality, I've always been honest and will continue to keep it real. If I didn't work out like a crazy woman I could be much bigger. 

My swole sister Deena. We eat, a lot and lift heavy things often. It was a simple mathematical equation.

Aside from a few anti inflammatories after the game I was drug free. I couldn't sleep, layed in bed sobbing from the pain listening to the Deena express from the engine room. After she woke she gave me 4 tylenol, helped slightly with the situation, enough to get into the car and back home. Doc called in a script of Vicoprofen and anti inflams. The vicoprofen worked a gem, first time was a double dose which made me slightly euphoric and giddy. I kept them up on Drs orders every 4-6 hours that day. Still hobbling about on crutches knowing I wouldn't get to have the MRI till Monday. Dr said normally MRI's would be performed after swelling had reduced but athletes cases are a little different. 

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