Frida Wallberg from Sweden was the undefeated World Boxing Council super-featherweight Champion, the number one ranked female boxer in the World and “The Golden Girl,” but that forever changed on the fateful night of June 14th 2013.
Frida who had won the title on November 27th 2010, had successfully defended it twice, including a UD over Amanda Serrano. The opponent she was facing at the Waterfront Congress SAS Radisson, Stockholm was hard hitting Diana Prazak of Australia. Frida was ahead on the scorecards after five rounds and boxing well. Then in the seventh round, a hard right staggered her, but she fought back bravely and went back to her corner when the bell rang. In the eighth Diana dropped Frida with a left cross. Frida beat the count and got up, but moments later a short right hook felled her again.
Referee Bela Florian waved off the bout, and Frida walked unsteadily to her corner, but no stool to sit down on as Ring Doctor Robert Ludwig examined her. She slumped, her body went limp and Diana`s Trainer, former boxing champion Lucia Rijker, realized something was desperately wrong. She immediately called back the doctor, Frida was placed on a stretcher, oxygen was administered, and she was rushed to the Karolinska Institutet. She had suffered a subdural hematoma, which is a bleed between the skull and the brain. Surgeons operated to drain it and Frida was placed in an induced coma. They saved her life, but with an injury of this nature, her boxing career was over, and her life irrevocably changed. A long spell of rehabilitation followed.
Everyone who participates in boxing, which is a contact sport, knows the potential risks it carries and contains. Frida lives quietly with her three children. She tries to keep fit but continues to suffer the lingering effects of the injury. Nine years on Frida has bravely agreed to do an interview with the World Boxing Council, who asked her:
1) What do you remember about that fateful night?
I remember from the 4th round that I had the fight. Then everything disappears. What I remember thereafter is that I woke up 4 days later in the hospital.
2) What happened concerning your operation and subsequent medical care?
They opened up my scull bone on the left side. They operated on me acutely for several hours. I still have healthcare since then. They have not been able to eradicate my massive headaches and mental wariness.
3)After the initial consequences, you mentioned ensuing headaches and neural fatigue.
I still suffer from massive headaches, mental weariness and often nausea as well as memory loss.
4) How has this changed your life?
It changed everything. I was at the top of my career and suddenly in one day I reached the bottom. I have had to re-learn how to speak, walk and train myself to everything. I can no longer do all that I used to.
5) You were a world champion, undefeated and very successful. Although you are able to train, you`ll never box again. Do you miss boxing?
Of course, I miss the boxing and the competing. This was not how I wanted it to end, but I wanted to reach the top.
6) None of us can put the clock back. Hindsight always occurs afterwards. But…if you were starting again, would you choose boxing or another sport?
No, I had chosen boxing.
7) How has the WBC Jose Sulaiman Fund been able to help?
It has been a significant help, since my earlier manager saw to that I did not have any insurances left in Sweden. Today I live on compensation from the Swedish Social Insurance Agency and that is a very small sum each month.
8) In re-building your life, but also given the nature of your injury, is it possible for you to work at a nine to five job?
No, there is no possibility, since I am not in charge of my headaches and mental weariness.
9) You have three bright and beautiful children. Two daughters and a son. If one of them showed talent, potential and promise in sports and wanted to box, what would advise them?
Since I find myself in the situation that I am in I would discourage them from it.
10) The World Boxing Council has ruled that women`s Boxing should be contested over two minutes rounds and not three minutes, on the advice of medical specialists. What is your opinion about this?
Everything that includes safety is of course good. Still I do not understand why there is a difference between men and women.
11) What does the future hold for you Frida?
I hope that I will feel better and find myself a good everyday life, with less headaches and less pain. But, I do not give up!
Thank you for everything that you are doing for me. You have no idea what a great help it has been. It means a lot.