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Arizona roller derby league serves as therapy on the track

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Posted at 9:33 AM, Sep 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-22 09:50:16-04

PHOENIX, Ariz. — It's not your typical sport, and you'll get some bumps and bruises.

But for Diana Percival, an emergency room nurse, lacing up her skates and hitting the track is what she looks forward to after a long work week.

"It's like, a great physical outlet, emotional and mental," said Percival. "I can come and just get it all out on the track."

Numerous members of the Desert Dolls Roller Derby League happen to be first responders. But they're also teachers, mechanics, and everyday women and men of different sizes and strengths.

"Every body type is going to do a job on the track," said league manager Adriana Escarsega. "It's OK to not be good at this because I'm good at that, and we even each other out."

No experience is needed. Many of the league members never skated before joining. But Escarsega says each skater is taught the ins and outs until it is safe for them to participate.

"I didn't know how to skate when I started," Escarsega said. "I had never been on skates before. I came in, and I was this wonky person on a pair of skates, and they teach you from the ground up."

Each skater transforms into their own alter ego -- a great escape on some of their most challenging days.

"My skate name is Frida Kahlor. It is a wordplay on Frida Kahlo, a very famous Mexican artist," said Escarsega. "Whoever you are in your day-to-day life is gone, and you're here to be this person, this skater."

"It's the best therapy," said Percival.

To learn more about Desert Dolls Roller Derby, click here.

Jamie Warren at KNXV first reported this story.