Abby Wambach is explaining the surgery on her leg. It's actually a little gross to hear about the titanium rod screwed into her leg. Surgeons are really just body carpenters.
She says she realized in the moment she hit her leg that it was broken, that her Olympic dream was over. She also believes that the team will do well. She wasn't panicked about her injury because of that faith. "It takes a whole team," she says.
She expresses her thanks to supportive friends and family and says she is proud of how her teammates responded. She said she told Kai to score and she was proud Kai responded.
Abby is asked about rehab. She says she just left her house today. Her mom was on a plane to LA soon after she saw the injury on TV. This morning she had her first rehab session with Athlete's Performance at the Home Depot Center today. Abby spends some time thanking her doctors for all their help.
Abby was in the ambulance asking for her stats on everything, blood pressure, heart rate, glucose level - she's an info freak. She's been on her couch mostly, though. She also admits to not being an easy patient, not liking to get help.
Abby is asked why she didn't scream in pain upon the break. She says she hasn't seen the hit. She says she thinks her experience and competitiveness helped. She didn't want to negatively affect the team by making a scene. She wanted to set an example for her teammates. She told the trainers, when they ran onto the field, that her leg was fractured. She was scared - she'd never ridden in an ambulance before. "Maybe I have a high pain threshold. I get that from my mom, I'm sure."
Abby then explains she was trying to shoot the ball, was surprised that the defender was able to get in so close so fast.
"I play one way. I'm not a player who will take it easy." She explains that she broke her toe before the World Cup. Abby then thanks her hometown reporter for the flowers she was sent.
Abby figures she will be playing in the new pro league in the spring. She recalls the excitement of leaving for the Olympic game. She says she doesn't feel sorry for herself, though she has cried tears over the injury.
"I'm not going to cry victim. No, I don't choose to break my leg, but I choose to be on this team and that means things like injuries sometimes."
Abby called Lauren Cheney from the hospital and told her to get ready for the Olympics.
"What's important is that the team is ready to win this medal they've worked so hard and long for."
Prior injuries are the broken toe and badly sprained ankle. Never invasive surgery. Abby is trying to take it one day at a time. She appreciated the game in a whole new way now. She plans to watch the games with other injured players. She intends to grow from this experience.
"There's not question in my mind whether or not I'm going to make a comeback - it's just a matter of time. I want to come back and be great again." Abby says she's ready for the hard work that will involve. She's aware of her responsibility as a role model in dealing with challenges and wants to be inspired by that.
She wants to show kids how to react when things get tough. She vows to come back.
"Face of team" Abby is called when she's asked to name three players who people should look out for. Abby says she can name 18.
"They have to play together. They have to lean on each other." Abby says that is the message of her injury. Every one of the 18 players have to work harder and dedicate themselves to each other more. She's excited to see it.
"Amy Rodriguez has proven herself as a person who can come off the bench and score goals, and now we see if she can do it starting a game." Abby mentions the experience of ARod and Cheney, even though they're young. "They're all capable of scoring goals." Abby mentions Pia's coaching and says, "That's the beauty of it - so many more people are involved."
I love how Abby informs the reporters that "the medical community has gone away from casting whenever possible", explaining she is on crutches, but has no cast on. She wants to take her time with the recovery.
Pia's words to Abby after the injury; "Aside from being my head coach, she felt for me, considering the timing. She was upset for me."
Abby mentions that two longtime teammates, Kate and Christie, were "devastated" for her.
Abby says that partly due to the results of '07, she really dedicated herself to preparation and her teammates know it. "They're bummed to be going over there without me on a friendship basis."
Abby mentions her love and respect for her teammates. She says she expects to see a special performance from them at the Olympics.
She doesn't expect to be replaced - she expects the gap to be filled. "No one is as loud as I am, but they lead differently."
Abby is asked about how offense revolved around her before. "Absolutely," Abby thinks her absence forces the possession game on her team. She thinks they can and will do it.
I ask Abby about whether or not the other team players out of the Olympics have gotten together to commiserate. She says yes and gives examples. Abby says that when she got home from the hospital, Cat had sent an edible arrangement of fruit and Abby was hungry and basically demolished it. Leslie Osborne was at the game, came over while Abby was being put in the ambulance and went to the hospital later. Abby and Leslie plan to watch the team's games together. The camaraderie among the players left behind has grown.
Abby also says she doesn't expect to be doing TV commentary. Jokes that camera adds ten pounds.
In her closing statement, Abby pleads with the press not to view the team as struck with a fatal blow due to her injury. Praises the team's talent and says that the media, as ambassadors of the sport, owe it to everyone to show the full picture of the team as they set out on their Olympic quest.
Look for the podcast of the call on U.S. Soccer's website later.