Sedona Prince Is Using Her Voice for Activism
When Sedona Prince arrived in San Antonio in March for her first NCAA women’s basketball tournament, she was grateful to be able to play again after a long recovery from injury.
But then Prince, who was in his sophomore red shirt at the University of Oregon last season, noticed something that troubled her: striking differences between weight room setups, meals, and testing. of coronaviruses available at the women’s versus men’s tournament, which were simultaneously occurring in the Indianapolis area.
Inspired to raise awareness about some of the inequalities women face in sports, Prince, 21, made a video comparing the women’s ‘weight room’ – a barbell rack and yoga mats – with the expansive room. fully equipped gym available to men. She shared it on TikTok and Twitter.
The response was broader and more immediate than she expected – 100,000 retweets overnight, phone calls for TV appearances on CBS, ABC’s “Good Morning America” and PBS, and a national dialogue on how women are treated in athletics and beyond.
“I knew I had a big enough platform to do this,” she said last month in a phone interview from her childhood home in Liberty Hill, Texas. “I’m not as tall as most of the other basketball players, but I felt like I could do it. I have the power to do this, and my mom always teaches me how to stand up for myself and do my best.
While she didn’t expect to receive attention, she was ready for it, Prince said, thanks to her mother’s guidance and the difficult road back to basketball she had taken over the past few years. last three years.
Prince’s mother, Tambra Prince, said in a phone interview that she always repeats a tried and true saying to her children: “Speak the truth even if your voice trembles.
Since the March episode, Sedona Prince has continued to draw attention to women’s sports through their social media profiles. His TikTok has 2.3 million followers; his Twitter, on 42,800. She offers a look into the day-to-day life of a Division I athlete and amplifies stories she thinks 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 coaches decried the training grounds and some of the TV shows.
“There is so much to document behind the scenes,” she said. “And the reason I want to do it is because people are getting involved in women’s basketball, and they have been doing it this year. They got so invested in the story and what was going on behind the scenes that they wanted to watch the game.
It’s hard to say how much of a difference the weight room controversy has made, but viewership for this year’s women’s championship game has increased dramatically. The 2021 women’s basketball final, in which Stanford edged out rival Pac-12 Arizona, was the most watched since 2014, according to ESPN, which broadcast the game. All rounds have increased viewership compared to 2019, when the most recent previous tournament was played.
As Oregon lost to Louisville in the round of 16, Prince, a 6-foot-7 forward, was even happy to participate.
She broke her right tibia and fibula during a competition for the United States Under-18 basketball team in Mexico City in August 2018. After flying back from Mexico, she sided. a rod was surgically inserted into her leg and, within a month, she was doing weight-bearing. exercises at the request of athletic coaches for his freshman year at the University of Texas, Tambra Prince said.
Michael Leslie, an orthopedic surgeon at Yale School of Medicine who was not involved in Prince’s recovery, said in a phone interview that too much movement too soon after a fracture could prevent him from healing in alignment .
Prince’s leg became noticeably swollen, the pain persisted, and she learned that her shin had not healed well in January 2019, which led to her having another operation in New York City. There, doctors discovered that part of her bone had died and was infected. They prescribed a large dose of the antibiotic through a catheter threaded into her arm and a large vein above her heart, her mother said. About two weeks after he flew back to his dorm, still on treatment, Prince felt feverish, weak and still.
“I was woken up at 3 am, straight out of bed, as his kidneys stopped – I mean straight out of bed, my heart was pounding,” Tambra Prince said. “And I heard, ‘She’s dying. To go.'”
Arriving at Prince’s dorm, less than an hour’s drive from her parents’ house in Liberty Hill, her mother took her to the hospital, where they learned the antibiotic had caused the toxins to rise in his kidneys to a level that could have led to damage.
“If people really knew how close she was to death, they would never criticize her if she missed a shot,” Tambra Prince said. “They were like, ‘I’m seeing a miracle.’ “
F. Perry Wilson, a kidney injury expert at Yale School of Medicine who was not involved in Prince’s recovery, said in a telephone interview that it was plausible that a high dose of this antibiotic could have cause a build-up of toxins and serious consequences. , depending on when the patient requested treatment.
A spokesperson for the Texas Sports Department declined to comment for this article, saying the department was unable to comment on a student-athlete’s health.
Prince has never played for Texas. After her freshman year, she transferred to Oregon and took a year off due to NCAA transfer rules.
For Prince, her recovery evokes her mantra – “strong and mighty” – a nod to her initials, “SP”, which she and her mother both have as tattoos. They have been basketball partners since Prince started playing the game in fourth grade.
She’s always been tall: to a foreigner, basketball may seem like a natural fit. But for the Princes, this was not always the case.
“I was the worst player until I was honestly in high school,” said Sedona Prince. “I was clumsy, I was tall, I was stupid.”
Prince said she was bullied a lot at a young age. 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 “high places.” including basketball and volleyball games, and said to her daughter: beautiful these women are. Look at them. Look how good it feels to be tall.
Tambra Prince remembered his daughter as a child as someone who always stood up for others. And, sometimes, like someone who was just plain stubborn: Sedona, 3, insisted on her outfits and told her mother to “talk to the hand.”
“My best friend said to me, ‘She’s just going through her teenage years earlier. It’s going to be a cinch at 13, ”Tambra Prince said. “And I called my friend when Sedona was 13 and I said, ‘No, she just refined it. She has improved.
The mother and daughter said they leaned on each other during the injury, recovery and transfer. Sedona Prince aims to use the pain of the past to uplift those around her, a quality noticed by those who share courtship with her.
“Playing this year was so special for me because I was like, wow, I’ve been through all of these things and I’m still able to play,” said Prince, who averaged 10.4 points and 3.9 rebounds per game last season. “That’s why I was like, I’m going to give it my all 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 of Prince after the Ducks’ victory over Georgia in the round of 16 of the NCAA tournament. Not only a great player, but just think about the pressure she took on her outspokenness. She was given a lot of attention and she supported him. And it is not easy to do.
Prince is hoping to return to USA Basketball for the first time since her injury in 2018. She is one of 13 finalists to represent the United States in June at the 2021 FIBA AmeriCup in San Juan, PR; a final roster of 12 will be decided at a training camp starting on Tuesday, according to USA Basketball.
At the same time, Prince hopes to continue expanding his social media presence, speaking out about issues that transcend basketball, especially for athletes of color.
“Being able to use my platform and talk to some of these black athletes who feel underrepresented or discriminated against, to help them share and use their voice to hopefully help people discriminated against every day, would be really special. She said.
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