Brianna Bertsch: How Football Saved Her Life

America Cardenas Pueblo El Guerrero

By América Cárdenas

Brianna Bertsch
Brianna Bertsch

For the past two years, Class of 2016 Senior Brianna Bertsch has been a committed varsity football player, the only female on the field this year.

When Bertsch toured the Pueblo campus as an eighth grader, she recalls seeing the mural in the cafeteria, and one of the images was a dignified native holding a football, and this image inspired her to want to be dignified as well.

“I suffered from low-esteem because of a poor family life,” Bertsch said. “So, I knew that I had to get myself out of the gutter—and I found that sense of belonging on the football team.”

In the past four years, Bertsch has been awarded many accolades for her commitment to the football team, including the Superintendent’s Cup Scholarship as well as numerous pins and patches.

“I learned early on that I was a big girl,” Bertsch said. “I was teased a lot in elementary and middle school, but once I entered high school and tried out for football, all of the teasing ended and I started to have friends.”

She paused and said, “Being on the football team literally saved my life. I stopped a lot of bad habits in my life, and I found direction.”

Bertsch said that when she became the only girl on the boys’ football team, as a freshman, some of the players ignored her and didn’t take her seriously. “I was like a ghost to some of these players,” she said. “It wasn’t until I started breaking records in the weight room when I started to get the respect that I always thought that I deserved.”

Following high school graduation next spring, Bertsch plans to attend Pima and become a member of the AZ Prep Team, which is an organization that caters to players who may not be prepared to be on the regular college football team.

Eventually, Bertsch wants to pursue a career to be a paramedic.

“I’ve always wanted to save people—always,” she said.

One thought on “Brianna Bertsch: How Football Saved Her Life”

  1. This is truly a heart warming story, so awesome to have one of our sports actually changing someones life other than just a sport. Best wishes, have a good one.

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