When Sedona Prince arrived in San Antonio for her first NCAA women’s basketball tournament in March, she was grateful to play again after a long recovery from injury.
But then Prince, a redshirt sophistication at the University of Oregon last season, saw something that bothered him: the available weight room setup in the women’s tournament vs. the men’s, striking contrast between the food and the coronavirus testing that took place simultaneously Was. Indianapolis Region.
Motivated to raise awareness of some of the inequalities faced by women in sports, Prince, 21, Made a video A comparison of the women’s “weight room” – a rack of dumbbells and some yoga mats – with a spacious, fully equipped workout gym available for men. He shared it on TicTalk and Twitter.
The response was widespread and more immediate than expected – 100,000 retweets overnight, phone calls to CBS, ABC’s “Good Morning America” and television appearances on PBS, and a National dialogue How women are treated in athletics and beyond.
“I knew I loved a very big stage to do this,” she said in a phone interview last month from her childhood home in Liberty Hill, Texas. “I’m not big like other women’s basketball players, but I was like, I could do it. I have the power to do that, and my mother always teaches me to be just for myself and to do the best thing possible.” Do what I can do. “
Although she wasn’t expecting attention, she was ready for it, Prince said, thanks to her mother’s advice and the tough road to playing basketball for the past three years.
Prince’s mother, Tambra Prince, said in a phone interview that she always reiterated a trying point to her children: “Speak the truth, even if your voice is trembling.”
Since the March episode, Sedona Prince has continued to draw attention to women’s sports on her social media profile. His ticket is 2.3 million followers; His twitter, over 42,800. She takes a closer look at the daily lives of a Division I athlete and amplifies stories she feels have been overlooked with the goal of increasing interest in women’s sports and the athletes who play them.
A recent example: the establishment of the NCAA Women’s Volleyball Tournament, where trainers condemned the practice court and some TV broadcasts.
“There are so many things to document behind the curtain,” she said. “And the reason I want to do this is so that people invest in women’s basketball, and they did it this year. They got so invested in the story and what was going on behind the curtain that they wanted to watch the game. “
It is difficult to say how much of a difference the weight room controversy made, but the viewership of this year’s women’s championship game increased significantly. 2021 women’s basketball final, in which Stanford Gush Its Pac-12 rival, Arizona, was the most watched since 2014 ESPN, Which aired the game. There was an increase in viewership in all rounds in 2019, when the most recent previous tournament was played.
While Oregon lost to Louisville in the round of 16, Prince, a 6-foot-7 forward, was also happy to participate.
In August 2018, he broke his right tibia and fibula while competing for the US Under-18 basketball team in Mexico City. After flying back from Mexico, a rod was surgically inserted into her leg and, within a month, was losing weight. Tambra Prince said to practice at the urging of athletic trainers at the University of Texas in preparation for their freshman year.
Michael Leslie, an orthopedic surgeon at the Yale School of Medicine, who did not participate in Prince’s recovery, said in a phone interview that too much movement immediately after the fracture could prevent it from recovering in alignment.
Prince’s leg was swollen, pain persisted, and he learned that his tibia had not healed properly in January 2019, forcing him to undergo another operation in New York. There, doctors found that part of his bone had died and was infected. His mother said he prescribed a strong dose of antibiotic taken through a catheter threaded through his arm and a large vein over his heart. About two weeks after flying back to his dorm room, while still in treatment, Prince felt feverish, weak and sedentary.
Tambra Prince said, “I woke up at 3 in the morning, straight from bed, when his kidneys were closing – I mean straight out of bed, my heart was beating.” “And I heard: ‘She is dying. Go.'”
Arriving at Prince’s hostel, less than an hour’s drive from his parents’ home in Liberty Hill, his mother takes him to the hospital, where he finds that the antibiotic has increased the toxins in his kidneys to a level Was what could be permanent damage.
“If people really knew how close she was to dying, they would never criticize her if she missed a shot,” Tambra Prince said. “They will say, ‘I am seeing a miracle.'”
F. Perry Wilson, a kidney injuries specialist at the Yale School of Medicine, who did not participate in Prince’s recovery, said in a phone interview that it was plausible that high doses of this antibiotic could cause toxins and serious consequences. May occur, depending on when the patient sought treatment.
A spokesman for the Texas Athletic Department declined to comment for the article, stating that the department is unable to comment on the health of a student-athlete.
Prince never played for Texas. After her freshman year, she transferred to Oregon and sat out a year due to NCAA transfer rules.
For Prince, her recovery evokes her mantra – “strong and powerful” – a gesture to her initials, “SP”, which she and her mother have both taken as tattoos. Ever since Prince started playing the game in the fourth grade, he has been a participant in basketball.
She has always been tall: For an outsider, basketball may seem like a natural choice. But to the princes, this did not always seem so.
“I was the worst player until honestly I was in high school,” said Sedona Prince. “I was clumsy, I was tall, I was dark.”
Prince said that at a young age he was bullied a lot. Her mother, who played basketball and volleyball at St. John’s College in Winfield, Kan., Said she “made it her mission” to take Sedona to “longer places”, including basketball and volleyball games, and told her daughter: “Look how beautiful these women are. Look at them. Look how nice it is to grow tall.”
Tambra Prince remembered her daughter in childhood as someone who always stood up for others. And, sometimes, as someone who was just plain stubborn: 3-year-old Sedona insisted on her dress and told her mom to “talk with her hands”.
“My best friend said: ‘She is just about to pass her teens. She’s going to be a breeze at 13,” said Tambra Prince. “And I called my friend when Sedona hit 13 and I said : ‘No, he just refined it. She got better. ‘”
The mother and daughter stated that they were dependent on each other through injury, recovery and transfer. Sedona Prince aims to use past pain to elevate those around him, a virtue seen by those who share court with him.
“Playing this year was very special for me because I was like, wow, I’ve gone through all that stuff and I’m still able to play,” said Prince, who averaged 10.4 points and 3.9 rebounds last season as a single. Played in the game. “So I was like, I’m going to give my every day because I never know what my last game or practice will be.”
“How blessed am I to coach a young woman like her?” Oregon coach Kelly Graves said after Prince Ducks win over Georgia Round 32 of the NCAA Tournament. “That’s really the whole package. Not just a tremendous player, but just think how much pressure he had on being so vocal. He had paid a lot of attention to her, and she has supported him. And it’s not easy to do that. “
The Prince is hoping to return to USA basketball for the first time since his injury in 2018. She is One out of 13 finalists To represent the United States at FIBA AmeriCup in San Juan, PR, in June 2021; According to USA Basketball, the final roster of 12 will be decided during training camp starting on Tuesday.
Also, Prince hopes to continue expanding his social media presence, talking about issues that permeate basketball – specifically for athletes of color.
“Being able to use my platform and talk to some of these black athletes who share their voices and use their voices to help people who are discriminated against every day, really I will be special, ”she said.