Behind the Facemask: Missy Bedwell Defines Perseverance

Missy Bedwell has played almost twice as long as I have which is pretty incredible. She is entering her 19th season and this is her 6th different team. She now plays for the DC Divas who have won back-to-back WFA National Championships.

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She discovered football when she was living in Miami and saw an article in the sports section of the newspaper about a tryout in Daytona Beach. She decided to take the day off from work and drove up for the tryout.

Missy arrived to find that JT Turner of the Minnesota Vikings was holding the tryouts and they were planning on having several sessions throughout the country and the goal was to select 80 women to start a barnstorming tour in October of 1999.

Missy was ecstatic to be one of the women selected. She began her career as a quarterback but she didn’t feel like it was the right position for her. She asked to move to linebacker and she played there for 9 years. She later moved to the offensive and defensive lines. Currently, she plays mostly on the offensive line. Missy has also played long snapper her entire career.

Missy’s favorite NFL team is the Carolina Panthers because she grew up in Elk Creek, Virginia which is not far from Charlotte. Her favorite player is Thomas Davis from the Panthers because he has overcome so many injuries and has a great attitude. She has been impressed with his humility and community involvement.

Missy has overcome her own obstacles as she has had to travel a lot for work so finding a team near where she worked was always a challenge. At times she had to commute far for practice including up to an hour and a half each way. She also has had to answer to questions from friends and family about why she is still playing after her injuries and long career. Missy has overcome 3 knee surgeries including 2 ACL tears. She has faced 2 wrist surgeries and a shoulder surgery.

Her philosophy is that she is a believer of leaving everything on the field and never holding anything back. She also tries to embody the ideal of sportsmanship. “You don’t have to like the team you are playing but you don’t have to play dirty.”

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Football has taught Missy many things over the years including that all types of people love football and that it’s not only for “jocks” or “tomboys”. The sport destroys stereotypes. The diversity of the sport has included all types of women all over the world which is what makes it special.

One of her proudest moments was that in her first ever game, while on the sidelines and watching the national anthem, she broke down in tears as it moved her as a Veteran to watch the flag wave and hear the music. Missy proudly served in the Marines.

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Her other proudest moment was winning the National Championship with the DC Divas after 17 years of hard work in her career. She feels blessed to have met so many amazing people that have changed her life in this sport and is thankful for the opportunities she has shared with them.

You can follow Missy on:

Facebook: Missy Bedwell

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