Senior Krystal Cairns, like many PowderPuff participants, was eager to start up another football season. With a strong team from Hainer, she was hoping to steal the Super Bowl title from her former team, and three-time champion, Kea-Guffin.
Unfortunately for Cairns, her final PowderPuff season ended shortly after it began.
In Hainer’s first game against Doane on Sept. 13, Cairns broke her finger while attempting to pull off an opponent’s flag. Her finger jammed against the other girl’s hip and got stuck in her t-shirt.
Cairns left the game early and spent six hours in the emergency room only to learn that she would need to undergo surgery the following week.
Cairns’ injury is not the first in the PowderPuff program’s four-year history, but the latest accident has reopened discussions of shutting down the all-girl football league.
According to Vice President of Student Development Bettie Ann Brigham, there are no intentions to end the league, but if injuries continue, the university would need to reevaluate the risk factor of the club.
Powderpuff co-leader senior Katelyn Leitzel said she understands the concern, but believes the same risks are present in many of the intramural sports, such as indoor soccer and dodgeball.
“I feel like football isn’t any more dangerous than soccer,” Leitzel said. “Football just has a stereotype of lots of people getting hurt.”
However, if the frequent injuries continue, Leitzel said players may need to fill out liability forms in the future, which would require the assistance of a lawyer.
“Most of the injuries are completely accidental,” Leitzel said “Krystal (Cairns) was just reaching for a flag.
“The girls realize it too. It’s not always going to be all hunky-dory. … They know what they’re getting into when they play.”
Leitzel experienced a serious injury while playing PowderPuff two years ago when she rebroke her collarbone.
“Things happen,” she said. “At the first meeting, I tell everyone there’s a possibility of getting injured, so we give them a fair warning.”
In addition to giving girls an opportunity to learn the game and play football, PowderPuff encourages unity within residence halls.
“It’s frustrating because we want to keep building community through it, but we’re still trying to figure out a way to minimize the injuries,” PowderPuff co-leader senior Meagan Constanzer said.
“With 16 people on the field, (injuries) are bound to happen.”