Recently I took this picture at the Postal Museum in Washington, DC – “roller derby saved my soul” written on a skate wheel. It gave me pause and chuckled to myself, because I knew exactly what it meant.

In 2008, I got a call from a friend asking if I wanted to see the roller derby. I remember watching roller derby on TV as a kid, and though I didn’t really understand it, I knew it was exciting. So, when I got that call, I said “damn right I want to go see the roller derby.”

That evening at The Doll Factory in Historic Filipinotown, I entered a new world, roaring with the sound of wheels on the track and cheers from crowd packed to the rafters as the Tough Cookies battled the Sirens. It was amazing – beer, food, fans, and badass ladies on skates! As thrilling as it was, I realized roller derby is a legit hardcore sport and the skaters were getting banged up. Then a lightbulb went off in my head. I knew could help them.

By the end of the game, I volunteered my acupuncture services to the LA Derby Dolls. Soon after that, I decided to specialize my private acupuncture practice in sports medicine. It felt so right; I’ve studied the body and been active my entire life, my parents were professional ballet dancers, and I myself have a background in martial arts and have been injured many times. Within a month I was treating skaters and was listed as a sponsor. Within two months, I officially joined the Doll Repair Team, LADD’s volunteer medical staff.

My work with the LA Derby Dolls has helped me personally and professionally. Over the last eight years, I have met so many wonderful people – insane athletes, brilliant medical professionals, and many friends for life, all while helping me to become an expert in the field of sports acupuncture.

In short, roller derby saved my soul.