Leslie Walls grimaces in pain as she works through her first physical therapy session at Athletes' Training Center Sports Center and Physical Therapy in Omaha on Monday, April 19, 2013. Walls tore her medial patellofemoral ligament -- MPFL -- on the first official practice in the fall of 2012. After surgery and about seven months of physical therapy, she returned to practice in March only to tear her anterior cruciate ligament -- ACL -- in the other leg. Walls said that, though she does have insurance through her work, the league does not help with the medical bills. "I hope maybe one day that they’re able to put in the money that these girls put out on the field for injury purposes," Walls said.
The Lingerie Football League (now the Legends Football League) players say that they are athletes first. The lingerie is, in their minds, an unfortunate necessity. Many admitted that sex appeal was the reason fans attended the game, but talk to any woman who’s played, and you’ll learn that it’s no powder puff or flag football.
The players dedicate exhaustive effort, months of their time and thousands of dollars to a sport with little reward, to a league that takes more than it gives. Many players hope that one day the league won’t be about the sex appeal but instead a showcase for female athleticism.
“People can get the impression it’s just a bunch of bimbos out here,” Omaha Heart quarterback Linsey Noble said. “Everyone has their own story. You can’t really judge people by the cover, by the book or the lingerie.”
Chicago Freelance Photographer | Alyssa Schukar | Photojournalist
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