Retired Soccer Star Briana Scurry: "My Brain Was Broken"

Retired soccer star Briana Scurry talks about how all her successes started with her mind and her ability to overcome obstacles. After her injury, she felt lost, broken.

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[Briana Scurry] My family and friends were—were very supportive. But the thing that was bothering me is— all my career, my success has been based on my mentality— about how I look at something and how I go after it. The ability to overcome obstacles, and then my physical assets as well. But it all starts with my mind. And so, for me—my brain was broken. That's how I felt. And I thought, if I can't use the number one thing that I use to do everything— to start everything, to achieve and overcome— what do I do? And there's the detachment — I once tried to explain what it felt like to a young girl— I said, "It feels like you're in the woods by yourself. You're yelling and you're yelling—and people are walking by, but they can't hear you." You're detached from the rest of the world. And until your brain heals and you get the right treatments and—and are able to recover— the longer you're detached, the more the depression sets in. It's almost like it sucks you out of—out of society. And that's a very hard thing to reconcile—to deal with. I—I had always depended on my ability to overcome, and that always began with my mind. And it was frustrating because no one could give me answers, and I couldn't find my own answers. And even though I was at the tail end of my career, the one thing I am grateful for now that I look back on it, is that I got a concussion at 38, and not 18. And—because I couldn't imagine, if I had been concussed at 18, going through school work, classes, activities— all of that kind of stuff— dealing with being a teenager—I couldn't imagine how frustrating that must be. So I felt blessed, in that sense, that I was 38, and I had a fantastic career. But the next part of my career was going to be using more of my mind and not as much my physical body, but my mind wasn't acting right—it wasn't right. And I was very frustrated, and I wanted answers, but none were forthcoming.
Posted on BrainLine January 22, 2014.

Produced by Christian Lindstrom, Ashley Gilleland, Justin Rhodes, and Victoria Tilney McDonough, BrainLine.

About the author: Briana Scurry

Briana Scurry is widely thought of as one of the world’s best female soccer goalkeepers. After being named starting goalkeeper for the United States women’s national soccer team in 1994, she helped lead the team in two Olympic gold medals (1996 and 2004), a World Cup  championship (1999), and she had 173 international appearances — a record among female soccer players.

Briana Scurry