ALEXANDRIA, VA - One of the top female athletes in history is taking up a crusade against concussions. Briana Scurry is a world champion soccer goalie, but head injuries cut her playing time short.
The two-time Olympian and World Cup champion, most famous for that game-winning save in 1999 against China, is now trying to defend all players against a concussion crisis.
“One out of two girls who play soccer end up getting concussions,” said Scurry while kicking around a ball at Ben Brenman Park in Alexandria
A severe hit to her head in 2010 took her out of the goal for good. She was playing for Washington Freedom at the time.
“Unfortunately it's been three years since then and I still have dizziness, loss of memory [and] difficulty driving at times,” she said.
Despite the obstacles, Scurry considers herself lucky.
She played professionally for two decades, was diagnosed early and is getting surgery at Georgetown next month.
“Now I see it as an opportunity to not only share my experiences with people so that they understand what concussions are about, but so that other kids will be able to feel confident about telling their coaches, telling their family and friends ‘I'm not feeling well’ and that's okay,” she said.
The 42 year-old says a persistent problem is athletes refusing to show weakness.
She hopes to reverse several sobering statistics.
More than 1.6 million Americans suffer a sports-related concussion every year, and a growing number occur among high school and college athletes.
Girls are playing so hard these days, research shows they’re more prone to concussions than boys playing the same sports.
Soccer is the number one sport for brain injuries in women. Girls make up about half of the more than three million kids registered in U.S. youth soccer leagues.
“People who get a concussion one time are highly likely to get one a second and a third time,” she informed.
She learned that lesson the hard way having suffered three concussions within three years.
Now in retirement, the soccer superstar is trying to score concussion awareness so kids can keep on playing on their field of dreams.
“You can get through this if you have the proper care,” she said with smile.
Scurry also says parents can be the best line of defense against concussions. While coaches are oftentimes watching the team as a whole, mom and dad's eyes are usually glued to their kids.