Olivia Lang’s weird year of bloody noses

This isn’t a story of the worst injury as much as a weird year I had.

The First Time

One year in college, we played this team on their home field. I don’t remember how it happened but I got smashed in the nose at some point. It hurt a bit but not enough to stop playing. Then I felt the warm liquid dripping.

My captain kept motioning for me to wipe my nose. She didn’t want me seen by the ref because he would kick me out until I stopped bleeding. I started to clean myself up but then my captain walked over to me (there was knock-on so we were setting up for a scrum) and told me to lift my sleeve and wipe it on my arm so that the sleeve would cover any evidence that I was bleeding.

female rugby player cartoon


Position: Lock
Club: Bowdoin College
Injury: Bloody Noses

Scrum On!

That worked…for like 3 seconds until we had to bind in. I was sniffling to keep the blood in my nose and then the ref called “Engage!” I remember the force of the scrum knocked a fat drop of blood from my nose right onto the middle of my prop’s calf. I felt a little guilty but figured with all the rain and the mud, she might not notice. Besides, the uniforms already had blood stains and grime all over them.

The Cover Up

Then the ball was out and we were off running…and then then there was another knock on (the ball-handling skills for this game were not ideal). My nose kept bleeding and I kept wiping. My captain came over again and with her long black sleeve, she ran her arm across my nose. I felt like a kid, where your mom is grabs your nose with a napkin and “cleans you up” as she manhandles your face until it’s all red and bruised…but “at least it’s clean.”

Blood Bin

We didn’t keep this up for long. The ref noticed and I was taken to see the trainer on the sidelines. The trainer tells me he can’t do anything until I’m cleaned up (blood is all over my face) so my friend helps me to wash my face by pouring her water bottle right onto me. I was a bit taken by surprised by the sudden waterfall so I reflexively blew some air out of my mouth, spraying the bloody water from my face onto the trainer. He was not pleased. One nose tampon and big glob of vaseline later, I was back on the field. That was the season away game.

The Second Time

We were back at the same field later that season for the finals. I’m running out of words so I won’t go into the details. Basically I smashed my nose bloody again. Then, that summer I went back for an off-season clinic. This time I got a small gash on the outside of my nose which bled like a mother. Funny thing is, in my 6 years of playing, these are all the bloody noses I’ve ever gotten…all on the same field.

By Olivia Lang

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