After completing a season of 21 Thunder commentary (which will hopefully not be the last as we continue to plead with Netflix and CBC), the Unusual Efforts team is back on a more serious note. Megan, Jessie, and Kirsten are back to tackle the heavy topic of chronic illnesses and their impact on fans as well as players. Statistically, at least 20% of Americans suffer from chronic pain, with 8% qualifying as high-impact chronic pain (pain that frequently limits work or life activities).
For those new to Unusual Efforts, co-founder and editrix-in-chief Kirsten Schlewitz wrote about her own illness and the impact it had on the site. Jessie and Megan explain their own illnesses which impact the podcast as well as content on the website. Sharing our stories is an attempt to shed light onto often hidden struggles.
As the statistics prove, chronic illnesses impact players as well. Michelle Akers, midfield maestro, is public about her struggle with myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome and how it impacts her life and play. Similarly, Shannon Boxx began suffering from lupus in 2002, but was not diagnosed until 2008. She only shared the diagnosis with her coach at the time, but later went public and became an advocate for lupus awareness.
In addition to the hosts and our professional examples, a few brave #Effortistas told their stories to add to the discussion.
I am an older player with EDS and migraines. My condition both demands daily physical activity and leads to frequent injuries. I’ve had to change my activity to barre and yoga in my house, and walks. It’s tough but doable. I miss my teammates.— 璋 蝴蝶 (@pretypenguin) May 10, 2020
You’re not. I’m really struggling atm with a chronic panic disorder and health anxiety/OCD-inspired, and it’s so scary and draining. It’s good to know that I am also not alone x— ᴍᴀʀʏᴀᴍ ɴᴀᴢ (@MNaz98) May 10, 2020
Another narrative comes from one of our younger contributors, @emilysonny, who leaves us with a story of struggle and perseverance that leaves us all speechless with the bravery.
Note: You can find out more information about Ehlers-Danlos Sydrome (EDS) here.
Listen to the episode below on Megaphone, or find us on your favorite podcast app under “All for XI”!
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Kirsten Schlewitz - @kdschlewitz
Jessie Losch - @JessieLosch
Megan Smith - @themegansmith