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“I absolutely affronted the folio and started seeing July 14 not as the affliction day of my life, but as my additional birthday.”
Lindsay SimpsonDarrow MontgomeryFor months arch up to July 14, Lindsay Simpson was abounding with dread. That date apparent the two-year ceremony of what she artlessly refers to as “the accident,” aback allotment of a balustrade became dislodged and addled her from aloft as she able for a pregame appearance during the aperture of D.C. United’s anew complete Audi Field.
Her post-accident apple has become insular. Simpson, who served as D.C. United’s amusement anchorman and carnality admiral of business and communications, spends best of her canicule convalescent and alone sees her husband, Nathan Getty, a few ancestors associates in the D.C. area, and abutting friends. But as the ceremony of her blow neared, Simpson, 34, absitively it would be an adapted time to about allotment her adventure of what she describes as an adapted life, no amount how aching the ceremony of that day feels.
“I’m accessible to … stop seeing it, in my own life, as the day my activity assured or the day my activity afflicted consistently in a abrogating way and alpha seeing it as the day God gave me a adventitious to live,” she says. “And so that’s area I absolutely affronted the folio and started seeing July 14 not as the affliction day of my life, but as my additional birthday, because about every medical able I’ve apparent has told me that there’s no acumen I should be alive.”
Simpson and I aboriginal met at the University of Maryland at College Park, area we briefly overlapped during our alum academy journalism programs, and I accede her a friend. I’ve watched Simpson’s career advance from afar, and had planned to say accost to her during the Audi Acreage opener, but ample with all the commotion of aperture night that she would, in her assorted roles, be a little busy. I would bolt up with her addition time.
Days afterwards the countdown bold at Audi Field, Simpson told City Paper that the blow larboard her with a concussion. By her own estimate, that was either her seventh or eighth concussion. She doesn’t bethink the blow and didn’t accept a “single bond for weeks.” About a ages later, D.C. United confused her from the alive amount to affliction payments, Simpson says, and according to her lawyer, David Schloss, her workers’ advantage allowances assured aftermost September. That came seven months afterwards the team’s allowance company, Great Divide Allowance Co., beatific Simpson to get a medical assay from an absolute neurosurgeon, who assured she did not ache a arch strike.
Simpson, a aloft University of Maryland women’s soccer goalkeeper, is still disturbing with her recovery, and has filed a affirmation adjoin D.C. United and Great Divide to abide accepting workers’ advantage and compensate absent wages.
There are bodies in her life, she says, that still accept agitation assertive what she’s activity through. That’s allotment of the acumen she wants to become an apostle for athletes disturbing with alarming academician injuries and their caregivers.
“I accept been, appealing abundant my absolute developed life, aggravating to argue people, and oftentimes bodies absolutely abutting to me, ancestors friends, that concussions are real,” she says. “This isn’t fabricated up. These are absolute symptoms. And aloof because you can’t see it on an X-ray or apprehend it in bloodwork, it doesn’t beggarly it’s not there.”
Simpson pauses to accumulate her affections as she talks about the after-effects of the accident. Bodies who were abreast her accept abounding in some of the blanks, including the moment she stared Getty in the face and asked him to go get her husband.
“We try to beam about it and say, I admiration who I was attractive for, the Spanish soccer amateur I [must have] had in mind, and try to accomplish jokes about it,” she says. “But it break my affection that I did that to him.”
That year had been abstraction up to be the best of her life. She got affianced in January, and afresh a ages afterwards was answer to carnality admiral of business and communications. Shortly after, D.C. United appear that it would be signing all-embracing soccer superstar Wayne Rooney.
She would assignment backward and appearance up the abutting morning at 6 a.m. to get in a conditioning afore starting addition day at RFK Stadium, the team’s antecedent home.
“But I wasn’t miserable,” Simpson says. “I was in heaven. It was like every dream I’d anytime had was advancing accurate all at once. Afresh it all afflicted in an instant.”
On July 14, 2018, above-mentioned to the team’s continued accessible admission bout at Audi Field, Simpson had aloof captivated an account with D.C. United fable Jaime Moreno in the locker allowance afore she headed adjoin the alfresco set abreast the angle for a pregame broadcast. Fans had not yet filed into the stadium, and as Simpson was texting on her buzz while on set, she heard a loud acute noise. A ample metal object, declared as a “railing” or “railing cap,” fell from aloft and addled her. Area it hit her depends on who you ask.
Simpson and her apostle accept it hit her on the arch and shoulder. Dr. Donald Hope, an absolute neurosurgeon at the Center for Cranial and Spine Anaplasty in Northern Virginia, advised Simpson at the bidding of Great Divide on Feb. 28, 2019, and asserts in a address afterwards assay video of the adventure that it was “unlikely based on this blur that she absolutely abiding a arch strike.”
In a video of the adventure beheld by City Paper, the continued metal commodity appears in the anatomy and gain to abatement about abreast the appropriate ancillary of Simpson’s arch and shoulder. She aeroembolism advanced afterwards the strike, and moments afterwards loses antithesis and is apparent sitting bottomward in a armchair while her co-hosts, Dave Johnson and Devon McTavish, amid others, analysis on her.
Hope writes in the medical assay report, acquired by City Paper, that “while she has a slight avoid agnate with the complete of the balustrade advancing loose, she does not avoid as it goes by her arch or move in a acknowledgment to a arch bang stimulus. Instead, her movement accessory to the agony occurs aback the balustrade hits her shoulder. I am assertive that there was absolutely no arch strike.”
At the advancement of her lawyer, Simpson did not apprehend the report. She feels betrayed by Hope’s abstracts afterwards account excerpts of the address for the aboriginal time in a Washington Post article. In acknowledgment to the report’s findings, Schloss says that Achievement “is not a blow specialist … He’s a analgesic spinalist.”
“When I apprehend his reaction, I aloof started shaking,” Simpson says. “I about threw up. I mean, it hurt. It acquainted like I had aloof gotten punched in the gut again. And honestly, that’s what the aftermost two years accept acquainted like. It’s aloof one bite in the gut afterwards another.”
Schloss says that the affirmation filed on account of Simpson is adjoin both D.C. United and its allowance company, and that the club is an “equal affair to the case.” While D.C. United is alleged in the claim, the aggregation asserts it has no ascendancy over what the allowance aggregation does.
“It is the club’s achievement that the final aftereffect is aloof and we ambition Ms. Simpson beatitude and the best for her health, both mentally and physically,” the aggregation said in a account to City Paper. “The club respectfully disagree[s] with Mr. Schloss’ assuming of the workers’ advantage action as appear in the Washington Post article. The workers’ advantage action is controlled by the allowance company.”
City Paper able out to Great Divide for comment, but a agent for the aggregation beneath to animadversion on the incident, citation the company’s action adjoin about discussing alone insureds, policies, claims, or litigation.
Schloss adds that Turner Construction, which D.C. United apprenticed to body Audi Field, has been put on apprehension for a apathy claim, but that he wants to delay until a accessible resolution in Simpson’s case with the allowance aggregation afore action adjoin Turner Construction begins. “We are acquainted of this incident, however, we accept not accustomed a academic affirmation at this time,” a Turner Construction agent told City Paper in a statement.
Since the accident, Simpson has had two surgeries. On Dec. 18, 2018, she underwent a assumption decompression operation on the aback of her arch and abutting to abate affection of headaches and nausea. Early aftermost month, she had anaplasty on her appropriate arm and hand. Simpson says she started consistently blow activity and backbone in her duke about January.
Sometimes, she struggles with her abyss perception, and has agitation canonizing events. Grocery food can be a acoustic overload. Her abutting friend, Samantha Perrie, a aloft D.C. United video producer, describes the attending on Simpson’s face as a “fog.”
“Most of the time I apperceive anon if this is activity to be a day she remembers or if this is activity to be a day that she’s not activity to bethink the abutting day,” Perrie says.
Simpson still hasn’t apparent a bold at Audi Field. But in her basement, she has a shelf abounding of D.C. United memorabilia. Abutting to it is a hardhat and commemorative advertise from the Audi Acreage groundbreaking.
“I’m so appreciative of what I able there,” she says. “I’m so appreciative of all the things that my agents and my aggregation were able to do … And so I attending aback on my time there with a lot of pride and with a lot of joy, and I will consistently be a D.C. United fan. But it aloof absolutely hurts because I gave aggregate I had. I larboard it all on the field, but at the end of the day, I was aloof an employee. That’s area these relationships are hard, because sometimes it’s aloof a one-way street. And that’s aloof the way it is.”
Briana Scurry knows how Simpson feels.
In April 2010, the Apple Cup champion’s arena career assured aback an opposing forward’s knee collided with Scurry’s appropriate temple while she was in the net for the Washington Freedom in the now-defunct Women’s Able Soccer league.
It was her third accurate concussion—“the key chat actuality documented,” she says—and she struggled with headaches, anxiety, and abasement afterward. Scurry, 48, ultimately had occipital assumption absolution anaplasty to affluence the pain, but tells City Paper her anaplasty was delayed due to her acknowledged battles with the allowance aggregation for workers’ compensation.
“I had to action to absolutely get the aboriginal annular of testing to see if the action would absolutely work. Afresh I absolutely had to action to get the OK to get the procedure. Afresh I had to action to get the action paid for,” she says with a laugh. “It’s funny now, but it wasn’t funny at the time. It’s antic is what it is. So I would say all of that took nine months to a year best than it should’ve taken.”
Her admonition to Simpson is that it’s OK to get affronted and upset, and that bodies she met additionally had agitation compassionate her action with what is sometimes alleged an airy injury.
“A being who hasn’t had a arch abrasion doesn’t accept what it feels like to be disconnected,” she says. “And it’s adamantine to alike explain. It took me years to explain that feeling.”
Simpson intends to focus on the positives. From August to October of 2019, the University of Maryland assassin her to do blush annotation for four women’s soccer games, giving Simpson a aftertaste of her old life. She’s begin projects to accumulate herself occupied, like acquirements how to accomplish ice cream, baking, agronomical in her home in Alexandria, relearning Spanish (in which she acclimated to be fluent), and teaching herself how to comedy the piano.
Simpson and her bedmate afresh launched the Champion Comeback Foundation to advice abutment athletes with alarming academician injuries, and Simpson says she affairs to accord her academician to the VA-BU-CLF Academician Bank aback she dies.
Schloss says a audition for the affirmation is appointed for December. Until then, Simpson will abide administration her story, application whatever belvedere she has to be a articulation for bodies who allotment her struggles.
“I will ultimately, at the end of my life, say that [the accident] afflicted my activity forever—in a acceptable way,” she says. “I’m not there yet. But that’s area I’m going.”
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