Saturday will be meaningful for the USA Women’s Eagles rugby team. Its match with New -Zealand is part of The Rugby Weekend tripleheader, and it will be their debut in a stadium as large as -Soldier Field.
The day also will have plenty of meaning for 25-year-old fullback Meya Bizer, who has battled a series of injuries that have threatened her career.
In 2014, Bizer stepped back from the USA’s 15-a-side team to focus on playing in the 2016 Summer Games with the seven-a-side group. Unfortunately, just before the Olympics, Bizer suffered the initial knee injury that ended her chance to participate in the Games, and since then she has struggled to return after going through setbacks.
But it looks as if Bizer finally has recovered, and she’s back with the 15s for the first time in four years.
“Going into this weekend I’m so excited,” Bizer said. “I really can’t put into words the emotions I’m feeling.”
For Bizer, being alone and not competing alongside teammates was an uneasy feeling. Growing up in The Woodlands, Texas, Bizer played soccer, lacrosse, rugby and was a kicker on The Woodlands High School football team. She earned a scholarship to kick at the University of St. Mary’s in Leavenworth, Kansas, before committing to rugby.
“The hardest part about the rehab was that I grew up playing team sports and I love that environment. You have people there pushing you, supporting you through good and bad,” Bizer said. “When I was doing the rehab, it was really just by myself, and so that was the hardest thing for me. Not that I don’t hold myself accountable in general, but it’s just a lot easier to hold yourself accountable when you’re doing it with and for teammates, versus the rehab [where] even the little stuff you’re just doing by yourself.”
That was all made worse by the setbacks Bizer encountered.
“Then to do something and then to get reinjured and have to start from ground zero was really frustrating,” she said. “It was this limbo of coming back but not yet, but coming back but not yet.”
She’s back now. And she’s glad she got through.
“I just really wanted to play again,” Bizer said. “I missed the sport. It’s obviously what I’m so passionate about, so I just missed being able to do it.”
The USA-New Zealand match is scheduled for a noon kickoff. Then at 3, the Ireland men will face Italy before the 6 p.m. match between the men’s USA Eagles and New Zealand Maori All Blacks.