BY BARB BERGGOETZ
Though an American citizen, Dutra E Mello played for Team Brazil. She qualified because her husband, Paulo, is Brazilian, because she lived there for several years, and because the youngest of their two daughters was born there.
While other Hoosiers tried out for Team USA, in the end, Dutra E Mello was the only skater from Indiana who made it to Dallas in December to compete in the 30-nation World Cup competition. “That was a huge honor,” she says.
Dutra E Mello, a preschool teacher who lives on Indianapolis’ south side, plays for the Bloomington league under the name “Farrah Fracture.” At age 43 she was the oldest member of Team Brazil, which won its bouts against Portugal and Switzerland while losing to Canada and France.
“To be able to compete at that level was an amazing derby experience. You’re getting the best of every country,” says Dutra E Mello. “I don’t know if I’ll be able to top that.”
For Dutra E Mello, to be able to play at all is remarkable.
Ten years ago she was treated for ovarian cancer and suffered from rare bleeding complications. At one point, she was declared clinically dead and had to be resuscitated. And there was a further complication — a medical instrument was left inside her requiring another operation to remove it. After her surgeries, she had to use a wheelchair and cane before she was able to walk normally again.
“I can say roller derby put me back into better health,” says Dutra E Mello, a long-time derby fan who used to watch televised bouts as a girl with her grandmother.
At age 37, Dutra E Mello discovered that she could roller skate without pain and began working out with BHRD’s Disorderlies training program. A high school, college, and adult runner, she took to the sport quickly and went on to play for the Naptown Roller Girls in Indianapolis before joining BHRD’s top travel team last April.
Though she has suffered her share of derby injuries, including cracked ribs and torn knee ligaments, Dutra E Mello vows, “I’m in the best shape of my life, and I’ll play as long as I can.”