It doesn’t get much more heart-breaking in sports than the cruel timing of the injury suffered by American woman soccer player Abby Wambach yesterday. The best offensive player on the United States team, Wambach suffered a severe leg break in a friendly match against Brazil. She broke both her left tibia and fibula and it goes without saying that the 28-year-old will miss the Summer Olympics in Beijing. She’ll undergo surgery today and have a rod inserted in her leg.
The author of the deciding goal in the 2-1 overtime win over Brazil in the 2004 Olympics that brought the U.S. a gold medal, Wambach had 13 goals and 10 assists this year as the Americans have racked up 21-0-1 record. They won yesterday’s game against Brazil, 1-0, played in Commerce City, Colo., when Wambach’s replacement, Natasha Kai, scored.
The injury occurred as a result of a first-half collision with Brazilian defender Andreia Rosa. Rosa was stunned but able to continue play. Wambach was fitted with an air cast and taken from the field on a stretcher.
Obviously, Wambach, who has 99 career goals, has every right to feel miserable about what’s happened to her just weeks before the Americans begin defense of their Olympic title on Aug. 6 but if there’s any self-pity in Wambach, it wasn’t evident in anything she said.
“I'm excited to watch them and cheer them on during this challenge they've been presented with,” Wambach said of her teammates. "It's really going to take everyone coming together. I love them all so much, and appreciate so many people involved with this game and the team.”