Video: Lingerie football players speak out
Web Staff, cp24.com
Published Monday, October 24, 2011 6:18PM EDT
The roster for Toronto's Lingerie Football League club is looking a little bare after most of its players quit in an uproar over unsafe equipment and the quality of the team's coaching.
Sixteen of 26 players quit the Toronto Triumph after one game because they say they were given equipment that doesn't protect them from hits or falls, and they weren't happy with the team's coaching.
They were also concerned because the squad doesn't have trained medical staff to assist with injuries suffered during play, including sprained ankles, pulled hamstrings and concussions, former players told CP24.
Former team members complained the hockey helmets they were given aren't suited for football and they had to wear shoulder pads meant for boys.
The women said they asked for better equipment, but their request was denied by the club.
"We really just voiced our concerns about our safety, issues with the equipment and about the only coach with professional tackle experience being let go," former team member Dr. Michelle Crispe told CP24.
"We thought going in we were going to be treated as football players and be provided the right protection," former player Sandra Dalla Giustina added.
Mitch Mortaza, chairman of the Lingerie Football League, told CP24 the accusations from former players are meritless.
Mortaza said the team has a medical staff comparable to any of the other teams in the league and that injuries sustained by players in the team's first game were not serious.
Former team member Elizabeth Crisante, who said she suffered a concussion along with another teammate during the team's first game, said injuries were not properly evaluated.
"When Sidney Crosby gets a concussion, the whole world cares," Crisante said. "We weren't cleared to go back on the football field. We had no medical staff to say 'It's OK, you can play again.'"
City Coun. Doug Ford's daughter, Krista Ford, is among the players who left the team. Four other players were reportedly cut by the team.
Mortaza said the released players were dropped because of poor performances in the first game.
Based in the U.S., the 12-team league has drawn a lot of attention and controversy because the women play the game in their undergarments.
So far, the Triumph has played just one regular season game, losing 48-14 to the Tampa Breeze in September.
Friday's home game against the Baltimore Charm is scheduled to go ahead as planned.
Each team plays four regular season games leading up to conference playoffs and Lingerie Bowl IX in Las Vegas in February.
Team members are not paid to play on the team, but travel expenses are covered by the club.