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Two Injured Rugby Women: National Tell a Story Day

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Two Injured Rugby Women: National Tell a Story Day

Photo courtesy of Lainey Rickard

Junior Lainey Rickard and senior Laurie Segreaves have never met; they don't know each other; their teams have never played each other. However, both women share two vital things: they both play rugby and they are both coming back from injuries.


University of North Carolina, Charlotte's Lainey Rickard suffered a devastating injury last season.

During the first game of the season, Rickard had landed a tackle and was attempting to recover when her teammate tackled an opposing player onto her. The force of the falling player broke Rickard's tibia and fibula and tore the ligament keeping the two taut. 

"It was just really bad timing to be honest," Rickard said.

Upon her arrival in Charlotte, Rickard rushed into surgery. The results: 12 screws and a plate in her leg.

Photo courtesy of Lainey Rickard

Although, two screws have been removed since surgery, Rickard is still recovering from the reconstruction of her bones and ligaments. It took her about four months before she was able to walk without her knee scooter or crutches.

"I was really upset because I knew this was a really bad injury," Rickard said. "The moment it happened I heard it snap, but I didn't want to believe it. So, I tried to get up - which was a really bad idea. But, I was in disbelief. I was really upset too because I was just then really getting into it and started being a good asset to the team."

Rickard attempted to play during a scrimmage two weeks ago. However, she was only able to tough through half of the game. During a scrum, the group became unsteady and toppled onto Rickard's leg. For her, it was like reliving the original injury all over again. Even though she left the field uninjured beside some soreness, it proved that the mental aspect of the recovery would be just as tough as the physical one.

"Honestly, I probably will never get over it," Rickard said. "But, it's probably a good thing because it makes you quicker on your feet and makes you think twice. I'll try to use that to my advantage."

Even though she is constantly aware of her injury, the No. 8 is determined to play just as hard and land just as many tackles as she had before. Her ability to have the patience with her mentality and physicality during the healing process will lend well to her athletic performance should she decide to continue with rugby. Yet, the support she has received from her team as well as her passion for the sport almost guarantees she will return.

"There are two levels that I need to decide if I'm going to be okay or not," Rickard said. "There's my personal level, which I feel like I can achieve no problem, and then there is the level of my team. I just want to make sure that I will be a good asset to them eventually."

Photo courtesy of Lainey Rickard


Kutztown University's prop Laurie Segreaves has bit of a different story. Like many rugby players, she has been fighting through the same injury for most of her collegiate rugby career.

During the first conference game of the fall 2014 season, Segreaves juked a defender to clear her hands for a brilliant offload. However, her right leg planted while the rest of her body fell in the tackle. She hadn't heard a pop, but she immediately knew something was wrong.

Segreaves had torn her meniscus, yet muscled through the pain to play out the 60 minutes that remained.

"I didn't know what it was, but I couldn't stop my leg from shaking," Segreaves said. "Once I got home and got out of the car, I couldn't even straighten it at all. There was just this immense pain."

Even though the orthopedic confirmed that it was a medial meniscal tear, Segreaves chose to procrastinate surgery to finish out the rest of the season. 

"I remember coming to the rec center after every practice and constantly having to ice it," Segreaves said. 

However, she still didn't have surgery once the season was over because of a job she didn't want to spend time away from. Before Segreaves considered the amount of pain she would be soon dealing with, the fall 2015 season had rolled around. At this point, she was about three seasons past when she should have gotten surgery.

"When we went away to nationals, I knew that it was bad. Playing on it had become excruciating," Segreaves said. "Before, playing on it wasn't excruciating. It was more the aftermath of it. But, even to come to the gym and jog on it was terrible."

During the 2015-2016 winter break, Laurie checked back in with the orthopedic and found not only more damage to her meniscus but damage to her cartilage as well. 

"I remember thinking to myself that I had lost close to 60 lbs in the spring and by that point I'd put about half of that back on," Segreaves said. "I was like, 'I cannot go back to that.' That was the final 'I need the surgery now,' because I did not want to go back to that life again."

Photo courtesy of Laurie Segreaves

Initially, her healing time was supposed to be a max of six weeks. However, Segreaves woke up after her surgery to news that she wouldn't even be able to run for eight weeks due to the extent of damage that occurred.

"The fact that I'm limited to almost nothing is extremely frustrating," Segreaves said. "I can't help out at practice; I have to walk at the gym while other people are lifting or doing sprints. The healing process if very mundane."

Although Segreaves isn't fully healed and is still battling the frustration and mentality of not pushing too hard in her recovery process, her knee feels better than it did before surgery. And, once she gets the "okay" from her orthopedics, she fully expects to jump back into power lifting.

Throughout the entire procoss of injury, surgery, and recovery, Rickard and Segreaves find they have one more thing in common: their sense of humor.