Brown battles through broken arm in soccer semifinal

HOULTON, Maine — Houlton senior Jamie Brown was not about to let a broken forearm stop her from finishing the final soccer game of her high school career.

Brown, the 17-year-old daughter of Jim and Kristy Brown, fell awkwardly on her arm near the end of the first half of the Shires’ Oct. 27 semifinal matchup against Fort Kent. That game was played in Presque Isle as Houlton’s field was covered with snow.

She knew immediately that something was not quite right with her arm.

“My (right) hand was bent behind my back and I fell on my back,” she said. “I completely lost feeling in my arm from my elbow down. I couldn’t feel anything, and I was freaking out because I didn’t know what had happened. I remember feeling nauseous.”

“I thought that it could be bad as soon as I saw her go down,” veteran Houlton coach Tim Tweedie said. “She appeared to be in a great deal of pain and all of the color left her face.”

It wasn’t until she calmed down on the bench that the pain started to hit her, but even then she thought she only had sprained her wrist.

“When she came out, she was immediately checked out by the Presque Isle High School trainer,” coach Tweedie said. The trainer wrapped her wrist up in a splint and “thought that there was a possibility that she had displaced or dislocated a small bone at the top of her wrist. We then had our manager, Taylor Cowan, contact Jamie’s parents to come help attend to her.”

At halftime, the coach started coming up with new formations on the field that did not include Brown, as he did not expect his center midfielder to return, but with two minutes before the start of the second half, she approached Tweedie and said, “Coach, I’m ready.”

With her right arm bandaged, Houlton senior Jamie Brown heads a ball during the Shires’ Oct. 27 semifinal game against Fort Kent. Brown broke her arm, but finished the game for the Shires. (Joseph Cyr)

“That’s pretty typical of the type of player Jamie has been over her four years in high school,” the coach said. “She has always sacrificed herself for the sake of her team, so it didn’t surprise me that she wanted to play through an injury. That’s just the type of selfless, courageous individual that she is.”

Tweedie added that despite her courage, he was secretly hoping that the ball would not find her much on the field.

“I knew she would be fine to run around, but I really didn’t want to see any collisions,” he said. “It was clearly painful for her. I kept checking with her every three or four minutes to see how she was feeling. I must have asked her five times if she needed a sub. She was probably getting annoyed with me.”

Houlton ultimately lost to Fort Kent, 1-0 in that game. The Warriors went on to capture the state Class C championship Nov. 3 with a 1-0 victory over Maranacook.

“I have been playing soccer for as long as I can remember,” she said. “I did all of the youth soccer camps when I was kid. Soccer is my favorite sport.”

Brown, who also played basketball for the Shires, said soccer was a stress reliever for her. “Basketball is so stressful, but with soccer, you kind of make your own decisions,” she said. “You adjust as the game goes on.”

Although she was a part of last year’s state championship soccer team, Brown said this season was more rewarding and fun for her on a personal level.

“To do as well as we did after losing so many players (to graduation) was neat,” she said. “There was no drama or stress this year. We all just wanted to play. A lot of people did not think we would do well this year.”

Brown, who was named an All-Conference first-team player, is the only four-year varsity player for the Shires this season. She played the midfielder role for much of the year, where she was responsible for controlling the flow of the game. Brown’s teams during her four-year career finished with a record of 55-7-5. She started every single game over her four years with the club.

“Jamie is amongst the very hardest workers that I’ve had the pleasure of coaching,” coach Tweedie said. “She is also among the most selfless. She sacrificed a lot of personal glory over the past four years for the sake of the team.”

The coach said Brown texted her as the team was heading home on the bus, while she had gone to the hospital to have her arm checked, which confirmed there was a break.

“The whole ride home, instead of thinking about the loss, I kept thinking about how courageous Jamie was for playing through it,” Tweedie said.

“There was no way I was not going to finish my last game as a senior,” Brown said.

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