Dickson Post

From pom-poms to pigskin: Lexi Brackman becomes Burns Middle’s first female football player

Lexi Brackman has gone from being a cheerleader to becoming a hard-tackling linebacker for the Burns Middle School football team. JAMIE BROWN

Amidst the cheers and applause that filled the bleachers of Burns Middle School’s sports field, a new chapter in the school’s history is being written.

Breaking through the traditional mold of a male-dominated sports team, a young player by the name of Lexi Brackman has emerged as the first-ever female player to grace the ranks of the school’s renowned football program.

Rusty Grove, the defensive coordinator and linebacker coach, recognized Brackman’s natural athletic talent and encouraged her to join the team.

“She’d always run up and down the field during practices, then carry the tackle dummy on top of her shoulder like it was nothing,” Grove said.

Tackle dummies are comparable to a small car tire in weight and a four-foot kid in height. Lexi’s small stature wasn’t fooling anyone.

Grove asked Lexi to join the team after continuing to see her athletic abilities.

“I’m a girl dad, I have three daughters, and I have always encouraged my girls to go out and do what they want,” Grove said. “Lexi is tough. We don’t give her special treatment and we don’t hold back. She doesn’t back down and we all treat her as a part of the team,” Grove added.

Head coach Rusty Wells added, “Lexi goes hard and has ambition; she hits harder than some of the boys on the team. Everyone includes her as part of the team, and she doesn’t get special treatment.”

Brackman (30) joins the Burns team in the huddle. JAMIE BROWN

One of Lexi’s main motivations for joining the football team was an unfortunate injury she sustained earlier this year. After breaking her arm in April, she was unable to participate in cheerleading as she had originally planned. Lexi had never participated in any sport other than cheer. However, her father’s desire for her younger brothers to get involved in football inspired Lexi to give it a try.

Reflecting on her experience, Lexi acknowledged that being a girl on a predominantly male team presented unique obstacles. The boys were initially unsure about how to handle her presence, particularly when it came to tackling. Nevertheless, Lexi remains undeterred and views these challenges as opportunities to break barriers.

“When I get to play, it’s an adrenaline rush,” Lexi exclaimed. “Everyone treats me like I’m a part of the team.”

She regrets not trying out for football earlier but hopes her journey will serve as an inspiration to other girls who aspire to join the sport. Lexi firmly believes that with determination and perseverance, anyone can achieve their goals.

Looking ahead, Lexi plans to continue playing football throughout her school years. Beyond that, she dreams of becoming a pediatrician after graduating. With her exceptional drive and ambition, it is clear that Lexi is set on accomplishing whatever she sets her mind to.