(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?"
LATEST UPDATE - JANUARY 18, 2013
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
"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:
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
Disclaimer: Brenda Bell-Drexel gave me permission
to reveal personal email messages that she sent me to do this