By Albert Fønning-Andersson. Photo by Kåre Viemose. Translated by Kristina M Madsen.
Uncertainty. To Caroline Hangaard it became fatal when she one winter put her head on a size 5 ball at a practice match for Skovbakken. She fears that she will never be able to play her sport on an elite level again after her head injury.
“There was good speed in the ball, which the keeper kicked out on to the field, but I was so determined to win the header duel that I did not hesitate to head it. I should never have done that. ”
That’s how Caroline Hangaard talks about the incident this winter, which in a split second put an abrupt end to an otherwise promising career for the young talented girl, who played at Vejlby-Risskov as a child, and later changed to Skovbakken IF, as the talent called on greater challenges.
For what at first glance looked harmless, proved to be a serious concussion that even half a year after the incident occurred still poses Caroline Hangaard great anguish.
“I still have terrible neck pain, have difficulties sleeping, and have a difficult time concentrating. Especially in school, and although it is getting better, it is still mega inhibiting.” Says the soccer player with a voice that is becoming increasingly timid and soft-spoken as she id telling her story.
“It started in the team-bus on our way home from the game, where I got severe nausea and headaches. And when I finally got home, my mom looked all frightened, because I was so pale and exhausted, as she had rarely seen me before.” Said Caroline Hangaard and talks about the terrible night that followed, where the pain only got worse and worse.
“I did not close an eye that night, it was unbearable,” said Caroline Hangaard, First thing in the morning, I went to the doctor, who did not hesitate to make the diagnosis and prescribe a treatment: severe concussion, absolute rest and intensive physiotherapy.
Will I ever come to play soccer again?
A treatment she still follows – and is bearing witness to a process that for Caroline is both tough and hard to get through. In addition to having a sore head and neck, not sleeping enough and being limited in her physical activities, Caroline has also begun to think gloomy thoughts about her future:
“Will I ever to live a normal life? Will I ever be able to play soccer again? And do I really have to give up doing what I love the most, which is to play soccer at a high level? These are some of the questions I started to ask myself”, says Caroline about the thoughts that concern her more and and more.
“It’s been strange and a vicious circle that is hard to get out of”, said Caroline Hangaard, who today is surprised that most clubs are still playing with balls in the girl tournaments, that are as heavy as they are.
“It is totally wrong that we are playing with the size 5 soccer ball and that people have not thought more about the damage that the heavy balls can cause”. She embrases the research and the development of a lighter and smaller ball for girls/women.
‘Which may help avoid similar injuries on other girls. “Nobody deserves to be exposed to what I have experienced ” she says.