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Brenda Bell-Drexel...You have come a LONG Way Baby after suffering a devastating injury!
by Sue TL Fox
January 18, 2013

(JAN 18) "Tiger Lady" Brenda Bell-Drexel has had a very long road in the world of female boxing----and now a long road in a recovery process after experiencing a devastating brain injury. 

Brenda began her professional boxing career in January of 1998, fighting the best of the best.  There is probably no one in this sport who could say that Brenda fought an easy bout in her 33 plus fights.   Her last fight took place in April of 2006---and then...WBAN did not hear much from Brenda Bell-Drexel. 

In 2009, I decided to seek her out to get a "Boxer Update" as many of the female boxers are accustomed to me asking for updates for WBAN on occasion.  

What I DID not expect to get in an email ---and what NO one wants to get in an email---is to hear that a fighter has sustained a brain injury. 

Brenda wrote me the following on June 10, 2009 and at that time she told me about being in rehabilitation:

"This is a new life I have and I need to know how I am going to spend the rest of my life.  I loved boxing and here at CORE Healthcare they are teaching me another way to think. My problem is,   I can't think of another way to 'think' because boxing means a lot to me.  I don't know how to NOT think about boxing. Gosh, I wish there was a way you were here to kick me in the Butt and tell me different."

At that time in June of 2009, I told Brenda that she could contact me anytime to talk if she ever needed to talk about anything, or vent or whatever she needed to say.

In September of 2009, Brenda contacted me again, and told me the following:  "I wanted you to know that I was discharged from CORE Healthcare July 29th and I have been very busy in my transition period.  I am totally lost in society today and I feel like a lost tiger cub,  confused in what I'm suppose to do in my life right now. This transition is slow and scary."

Then a couple of months later, I received another response from Brenda.

In November of 2009, Brenda wrote the following. "All I could say is its hard on me.  I can't think right anymore, My communication is off.  I don't know how to say things sometimes. Words don't come out the way I want them to.  So I get frustrated and overwhelmed.  My freaking short term memory is off big time!  I will forget in a minute.  The question is how must I live?"


From this you can see the frustrating years that Brenda has gone through dealing with her condition.  But, WBAN contacted her this week, and her outlook on life has done a complete turnaround, I am happy to say, and this is what she wanted WBAN and boxing fans to know:   Brenda reported the following:

"What have I been doing “life after boxing?” First, I was feeling sorry for myself, knowing it was really hard walking away from a sport (Boxing) that I loved; something that has engross my whole life!

My coach and my martial art instructors have taught me so much. I have lived my career in the boxing world spot light. I am taking my first step into a new way of life, learning to trust self and not give up in life.

Can you imagine being free from all of challenges of life; from frustration, depression, addiction. I know for sure that it is true life has a way in beating you down. Being a TBI (traumatic brain injury) survivor, I have gone many rounds with self-denial.

I think Life gave all of us good and bad experiences, living up to our expectation when people tell us what they expect. There is no time pretending that everything will be okay---so I carry an attitude with gratitude.

Having sustained a traumatic brain injury, I have now begun a new chapter in my life and have been oil painting, acrylic painting, and pastels. I have been in numerous of art shows and exhibits. I am now writing memoir and blog each and everyday on my website: http://brendabell.org 

I do public/motivational speaking to inspire and share my life experiences. I’ve done numerous speaking engagements, had an opportunity to speak in a Concussion Education Symposium a few months back; I was a speaker in “Concussion Education Symposium”: keeping our athletes safe.

As you may know; sports are the second leading cause of traumatic brain injury behind only motor vehicle crashes. My goals are to help people and organizations understand TBI (traumatic brain injury), concussions. I’ve become fascinated and learning about the brain. There is a lot to learn of our brain.

I am age-proofing my brain, now that I am older. Feeling more alive at age 49! Starting New Year 2013 right. I am delighted to say that Jan.20th in our Black History Month Exhibit entitled In the Winners Circle: Celebrating me and four notable San Marcos Athletes. I am known to be the first former African-American female boxer in our little city of San Marcos, Texas.

I am pressing on going through the plans I have, including my road map and the courage to stay on the route to my destination in life. Boxing and Martial Arts will always be a part me. I am back into the martial arts moving my body in Tai Chi and knowing that I am happy in what is right."

Disclaimer:  Brenda Bell-Drexel gave me permission to reveal personal email messages that she sent me to do this story.

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