Often it is only a fraction of a second that can change a life. This sentence is often said and written, but in fact it unfolds its cruel force only for those who experience its truth in their own bodies. In the case of manuela hoch, too, the event, the consequences of which have accompanied her for two years, was only the blink of an eye.
On 3. April 2016, her "unlucky day", as she says today, the 47-year-old had her shinbone smashed during a soccer match between DJK wurzburg and FSV holzkirchhausen/neubrunn. "I only saw legs coming towards me and while I was falling I could hear the bones breaking. I screamed like never before", she tells. And woman today that this was the moment when her life began to turn around.
It takes a long time to get manuela up from the field, because every movement hurts her endlessly. That's why she can't be transported by ambulance, but has to be picked up by a rescue helicopter. In the wurzburger uniklinik she is operated on the same day, gets a nail from the knee to the heel in the leg, in addition two screws in the ankle and one in the knee. "When I woke up, I had no end of pain and didn't know what was going on at first", says the former DJK player.
Slowly the memory comes back, of a district league game that is highly emotional from the start. For DJK wurzburg, it's about staying in the league, for the host team FSV holzkirchhausen/neubrunn, it's about promotion to the landesliga. So it is not surprising that in the encounter is gehorig fire. When she thinks back today, there is a key scene for the wurzburg player that led to the devastating event in the second half of the game. "I was lightly hit on the fub by a player just before the break and the referee blew his whistle, she recalls and says that in her opinion this action should not have been punished. But the fact that the impartial official still does it makes hoch first smile, then laugh – and her opponent go ballistic.
Shortly after half time…
The 47-year-old suspects that she will take her anger with her into the second half of the game. It's not long before a ball from midfield reaches manuela high in the air. She takes it out of the air, catches it with her thigh and sees two opponents rushing towards her. The 47-year-old remembers that the woman she had a run-in with just before the break jumped into her leg from the left. "Now you have reason to scream", she is said to have said to manuela and shouted at the woman lying on the floor to finally get up and stop delaying the game.
The time of suffering begins
This action is not punished by the referee. The sports court sentences the woman, who took manuela high off her legs, to a fine of 50 euro – because of the insults. A time of suffering begins for manuela hoch. Two weeks after the operation, the suture on her ankle bursts open, the wound refuses to heal and causes the wurzburg native severe pain. "For the first half of the year, I was just lying at home," says the former DJK player, she says. The injury changes her, and for a while even takes away her love of soccer, which until then had been her life. Three months after the accident, she finds herself on the operating table again. The screw is removed from the ankle, but healing continues to be slow. Today, four operations later and without nails and screws in her leg, manuela hoch is still not pain-free, and probably never will be again.
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it also has an impact on her professional life. Before the accident, the retail saleswoman had a department under her, today she stocks shelves. The referee roland schmitt is also appalled by the extent to which she is still struggling with physical injuries. The fubballer, whom manuela hoch has known since childhood, approaches her about two months ago at the BFV district convention in rimpar because he notices that she is still limping two years after her injury. After hearing her story, he takes the initiative and, together with klaus ullrich, an associate judge at the sports court who has been following manuela hoch's medical history, and helga schmitt, the district chairwoman of the women's and girls' committee of the bavarian football association (BFV), gets her money from the BFV social foundation. Among other things, she has made it her mission to "support all people involved in the life of the bavarian soccer family in emergency situations". This is what it says on the homepage of the foundation. Manuela hoch was presented with 2000 euros at the district conference. "I am very happy about the support", she says. Even if the money can't give her back her old life.
The new one is a lot more difficult. But in the meantime, fubball is once again providing the moments of peace and quiet. Throughout the injury period, her team does not abandon manuela hoch. The women pick her up for training and games in the early months, and even get her a chair so she can put her bad leg up on the sidelines. The persistence of the team members pays off. Manuela hoch likes to go to fubball again, even though she can no longer play herself. She coaches the two women's teams of DJK wurzburg.