Briana Scurry is the epitome of the word “trailblazer.”
As the starting goalie for the US Women’s National Team for their historic World Cup win in 1999, she wasn’t just the only Black athlete on the team, she was also the out lesbian. When she made the final save and Brandi Chastain made the final goal, Scurry became a national hero.
Despite the glory, and a decade-long professional soccer career that ensued, Scurry faced serious internal battles that nearly took her life.
On the latest episode of Outsports’ Five Rings To Rule Them All, Scurry opens up about two times in particular that her life took difficult turns, diving deep into one in particular that is featured in her new book, My Greatest Save: The Brave, Barrier-Breaking Journey of a World Champion Goalkeeper.
After an on-field injury ended her career in 2010, she battled serious chronic head pain and an insurance company that did not want to cover the experimental procedure that could end her suffering.
“I was in a hole and self-medicating with Vicodin and alcohol,” Scurry says on the podcast. “I was just trying to survive. Something was saying to me inside, just keep going, just keep going.”
Working through suicidal thoughts, she did keep going. And when the insurance company finally relented, thanks in part to her perseverance and her lawyer, the pain went away and she was free again.
The two-time Olympic champion also talks about her struggles after the 1999 World Cup, and how she was no longer the starting goalie with the USWNT just a year later.
Scurry’s life and career are also the subject up an upcoming documentary film on Paramount Plus called “The Only,” which features her unique position as a Black lesbian on that World Cup team, and the impact she has had on female athletes.
You can listen to the conversation with Olympic and World Cup champion Briana Scurry on the Five Rings To Rule Them All podcast on Megaphone, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Apple podcasts and many more platforms. Just search for Outsports wherever you get your podcast.
And be sure to follow Five Rings To Rule Them All on Twitter.
You can follow Briana Scurry on Instagram and on Twitter.