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2012 Barb Theisen

You will probably not be surprised to learn that I first began Judo as a challenge or a dare. W-a-aa-ay back in about 1974 at the fresh age of 26, I was told by my former husband when he came home from his first Judo class moaning and groaning, (he and another firefighter were going to be cool and learn Judo) “You wouldn’t last for a ½ hour on the mats”! H-m-m-m? Well, the reality 
was that as a child and teen-ager I had been stricken 3 times with Rheumatic Fever, and was never allowed to do any sports, take phy-ed, etc. I was pretty much of a wimp in that respect. 

However, Judo fascinated me and I finally decided to “LIVE UNTIL I DIE”. So I registered for a class with Jon Sanfilippo . I expected to have the basic “shot-to-hell syndrome”, but the truth was that I had NEVER felt so good! Then as Stacie and Bethann became active in this sport, I worked out with various coaches such as Dan Watts, Jim Peterson and Steve Stockwell. In the past 
several years I have had multiple interruptions, i.e. MS, Cancer and most recently a fractured pelvis. But once again, I look forward to healing this “broken butt” and getting back to the mats. 

If I had been smart, I would have bought stock in Johnson and Johnson and made myself rich just with the amounts of Band-Aids and tape that I’ve used for Judo injuries. I really couldn’t even guess a number of Judoka patients. Hysterical Moms really aren’t a huge problem. I think that they find comfort in the fact that I AM A MOM TOO. I usually advise them according to what I would do if it were my child. After being a “Mat Mother” for so many years, I appreciate their anxiety. DADS can be another issue when they 
want to ignore what you suggest and they want their son to keep fighting. I hate to over-rule a parent, but I have in a couple of cases when I felt very strongly about the situation. The most common injuries are noses and lips that spring leaks. Not serious physically, but messy and can be a problem for the Judoka to continue competing. 

One of the most memorable injuries was in Fond du Lac. It was a horrible day and I was literally triaging the 3 mats. But one was a boy from Chicago. I think he was with Cohen’s club and about 10 yrs. old. He had a triple fracture to his left elbow. I called for an ambulance transport and splinted it on the mat. I felt that it was in his best interest not to move him off of the mat until he 
left on the gurney. He was in surgery at St. Agnes’s that night for 6 hours.Then there’s always the guys with their “groin pulls” who look at me rather strange when I hand them an ice bag and tell them “To put it where it will do them the most good”. But really, if it’s not a matter of life and death they’re on their own with that one!

I’m sure that I have handed out at least an iceberg or two of ice packs. Does that make me responsible for global warming? Judo is much more than I sport, it is a way of life that you share with a very special “family”. I have been blessed.