Photo by Pat Radigan
By Pat Radigan
In my seven years covering women’s gymnastics, I’ve seen a lot of crazy things that make me feel pathetic for things I consider hard.
On Saturday, Husker Dani Breen added to that list.
As part of the double dual with the Nebraska men, things were a bit cramped when the Huskers took on Rutgers. When looking for a spot to take pictures of the beam, I noticed a trainer’s table nearby, and posted up in front of it to get ready for the fun.
A few routines went by, and as Megan Schweihofer finished her routine, I noticed a Husker hobbling over toward the trainer’s table on one foot. It was Breen, and she was up next. It didn’t look like she was hurt, though, and when she got on the table the team’s trainers started tending to a cut on Breen’s foot.
The ironic part? In a sport where you put your physical health on the line by even thinking about competing, this injury had nothing to do with gymnastics. Breen has a dog, and the night before, the pup’s claws had cut the senior. I don’t know the dog, or the story, but I can only assume it was an adorably innocent accident, just in knowing the nature of doggos.
Either way, the cut reopened just seconds before Breen was supposed to take to the 4-inch beam. As the gathered masses waited for the trainer’s to get Breen ready to perform, I thought about how ridiculous it was that anyone would consider doing what she was about to.
Blood cleanup on beam? That’s new.
If I ever cut my foot in a sport where you were barefoot, I’d find the nearest piece of paper and tender my immediate resignation.
Yet there was Breen, going through her usual routine without a fall. When I asked her how it felt to finish her routine and know she made it through ‘Cut-gate’, I expected at least a smile or some sense of relief. Instead, the senior pointed to a wobble in her routine and said she could have done better.
Because of course she did. Gymnasts are a different breed of tough.
After her routine, the gathered NU training staff quickly took to the beam to clean up after Breen. Again, the thought of literally leaving your blood on any apparatus seems to me like some sort of twisted Saw plot. The trainers seemed thoroughly nonplussed.
I asked Nebraska coach Dan Kendig about it after the meet, and he couldn’t remember a time where they had to hold up for a ‘blood timeout’ for an athlete. Even with the unique situation, Kendig wasn’t surprised that Breen stayed on and won the mental battle with the cut on her foot.
“That’s a senior.”