MASSENA - As a child growing up in Massena, Windy K. DeRushia loved sports, both playing and watching, but mostly playing.
I lived at Alcoa Field, she said. I played all year round.
When she grew older and began attending Massena High School, she excelled in soccer, hockey and softball, earning enshrinement in the schools athletic hall of fame.
In high school I wasnt anywhere near this big, Ms. DeRushia said, adding shes 53 and now weighs approximately 300 pounds.
Sitting at a table covered with trophies that she had won, Ms. DeRushia asked for help in getting her cast as on contestant on the NBC reality show, The Biggest Loser.
If I got on the show, I would like to get down to 190, she said, adding that even if shes not selected, she would like to continue trying to lose wight and getting her life back.
Ms. DeRushias athletic career didnt end in high school, as she went on to play professional womens football for teams in Syracuse, New York City and most recently Montreal, who won the IWFL (International Womens Football League) championship last year.
I couldnt play because of my knee, she said. Its been two or three years since I could play.
Ms. DeRushia explained she suffered the first of two devastating knee injuries in a game three years ago.
I got hit with a helmet right on my knee, she said, adding the hit broke her knee cap.
The injury left her inactive for nearly a year, over which time she gained approximately 40 pounds, peaking at a weight of roughly 330 pounds. While playing football, Ms. DeRushia, who was a nose guard, said her weight was consistently in the area of 290 pounds.
After recovering from that injury, Ms. DeRushia said she began exercising again and even playing softball, but less than two years after breaking one of her knee caps she dislocated the other.
I was doing pretty good. I had lost 46, pounds, she said, adding the second injury came in a charity softball tournament last year.
Since recovering from that injury, she said shes lost approximately 30 pounds.
One of the biggest reasons for wanting to go on the show is the get healthy and be here for my kids, she said, adding that she began gaining weight, like many women do, after having children. She is the mother of two boys, Cody Jones, 14, and Zachary Jones, 12.
Another reason, she said, is difficulty in performing everyday tasks.
I have a hard time going up stairs and doing stuff that a normal person should be able to do, she said. I still can play softball and I can do stuff, but its just not the me I want to be.
Should she be selected for the show, Ms. DeRushia said she would have to be available from sometime in September through May, something that she said has the support of her employer, Northern Merchant Services, Brasher Falls.
They would be OK with me leaving for the show, she said.
Ms. DeRushia, who has submitted a nomination video to NBC, said she was provided with an email address to pass on to people who would like to nominate her for the show. If you would like to support her efforts, send a brief email containing Ms. DeRushias name, age and hometown, as well as sentence or two about why you think she should be on the show to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Should she be selected to appear on the show, Ms. DeRushia will be placed on one of two teams and compete for a grand prize of $250,000.
With my sports background and the fact Im a single mom, I think I would be perfect for the show, she said. It could change my life.
Should be make it on the show or even become successful in losing a significant amount of weight, Ms. DeRushia said she would like to play football again.
Im only 35, I could play football for a couple more years, she said.
Ms. DeRushia said contestants on the show are split into teams who then compete in various challenges with the team objective of losing the most weight that week. The team that loses the least amount of weight in a given week must then vote off a team member.
Its kind of like Survivor, she said.