Tab Bamford, January 29, 2014
Following tonight?s men?s basketball game against visiting Northwestern, learn how the University of Wisconsin is using DNA research to save honey bees, and get to know an amazing program that helps women on the other side of the globe.
Brittany Ammerman, a junior forward for the Wisconsin women?s hockey team, works with the group Health by Motorbike. Please enjoy this bonus footage not featured in tonight?s BTN LiveBIG premiere:
This year, Ammerman is having a great season on the ice. She?s among the national scoring leaders, and the Wisconsin women?s team is one of the best in the country.
But 12 months ago the story wasn?t as promising for Ammerman.
After finishing the 2011-12 season with the Badgers in the Frozen Four, Ammerman sat out almost the entire 2012-13 season because of concussion issues. Being forced off the ice made her think about her future away from the rink.
During her time away from hockey, Ammerman - a woman?s studies and biology double-major - was introduced to the Health by Motorbike program. That?s when Dr. Araceli Alonso presented a chance to make a difference on the other side of the world and changed Ammerman?s school of thought.
Dr. Alonso founded Health by Motorbike, which delivers basic health education, services and equipment to women and adolescent girls living in remote areas of Kenya. Students receive training in Madison, then travel to Kenya where they can share their knowledge by training women in the villages.
As Ammerman started to move further away from the physical symptoms of her concussion, the Health by Motorbike program provided her the opportunity to look beyond her time in Madison.
?I?ve told [Dr. Alonso] a number of times that Health by Motorbike kind of boosted me.? Ammerman said. ?I was getting better, but when I got accepted to Health by Motorbike it gave me a new focus while I couldn?t play hockey.?
That new focus was on building relationships with her peers and women in Kenya. On the trip, Ammerman discovered a great deal about herself and, possibly, her future.
?I found something that I was as passionate about as I am about hockey,? she said. ?That?s a very exciting thing, especially for a female athlete when professional sports are basically non-existent. When you graduate you have to figure out a life without hockey or that has something similar to it and I think the passion that I have for Health by Motorbike and health in general with women is just as good as my passion for hockey.?
Ammerman described swimming and playing soccer with the women in Kenya as well as working with them to learn more healthy life habits. Now that she?s back on the ice, Ammerman views her year away in a different light.
?I think the concussion was a blessing in disguise in some ways,? she said. ?[When] you don?t get to be on the ice you realize how much you love the sport, how much it gives you, and how much you can give to the sport.?
Ammerman and the group are raising money to buy soccer balls and, hopefuly, starting a women's soccer league in Kenya. For more information about how you can help their efforts, check out their fundraising page: https://www.booster.com/healthbymotorbike
For more information about Health by Motorbike, check out their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/healthbymotorbike.
Also be sure to check out some of our other blog posts featuring the University of Wisconsin this season at LiveBIG: Wisconsin.