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Monday, Feb. 26
The Indiana Daily Student

sports women's soccer

Money being raised for former player after accident

IU vs DePaul

It was Lisa Nouanesengsy’s laugh that often caught her teammates’ attention.

She had a habit of making jokes that sometimes weren’t funny. She’d oftentimes end up laughing alone at her ?own jokes.

Nouanesengsy graduated from IU in 2013 as one of the most celebrated women’s soccer players in program history.

She finished her career third in goals scored and fifth in points all-time at IU. But where she frequently stood out more was off the field. IU Coach Amy Berbary often called her “the engine that makes IU women’s soccer go.”

Nouanesengsy suffered severe burns to her hands and legs in a gas explosion Oct. 24 at her apartment at Shawnee State University where she was attending graduate school.

On top of hospital expenses, she lost everything she had including clothes and electronics.

For four years, Nouanesengsy made an impact on teammates, coaches and fans in Bloomington.

Now, those people are trying to give back through the Facebook group “Prayers for Lisa,” which aims to raise money to support Nouanesengsy.

“We just wanted to help her after the recovery to get some of that stuff back and support Lisa and her family,” said Megan Holland, a former teammate and current graduate student at IU who founded ?the page.

In a little more than a week, the Facebook page has generated 1,760 likes.

Holland said she hopes to raise $10,000 to help cover expenses and has already raised about $5,000.

The money will go directly to the Nouanesengsy family.

When Holland first visited Nouanesengsy shortly after the fire, Nouanesengsy couldn’t talk and mostly slept.

Since then, Nouanesengsy has been able to walk and talk, but Holland said she is expected to be in intensive care for another four to five weeks.

Holland said she doesn’t know all the specifics of the injury, but Nouanesengsy is expected to need a skin graft on various parts of her arms and legs.

The page is expected to raise money for another week or two, but then the group will look elsewhere for donations.

Nouanesengsy — whose parents immigrated to the United States from Laos in 1981 — has mostly paid for everything herself.

Her independent nature always stood out to Holland, who said now is a chance to give back to Nouanesengsy.

“She’s always caring about other people,” Holland said. “She always puts others first, which I think is something you really value in a friend.”

Nouanesengsy tried her hand at considering a professional soccer career after graduating from IU, but she decided it was in her best interest to go to graduate school to continue studying occupational therapy.

Back in Bloomington, IU soccer players wore white bands with “LN7” written on them in their past two games — both wins.

Berbary said the news of Nouanesengsy’s injury shook the program, but the team tried to use it as motivation to play and win for their fallen teammate.

“All I have to say about Lisa is she’s one of the best people I’ve met my entire life,” sophomore midfielder Veronica Ellis said. “She was the epitome of women’s ?soccer player to look up to.”

Nouansengsy often took younger players under her wing and instantly made them feel like a part of the team.

Her little comments at practice stood out most to Ellis. She always tried to lift team moral and be positive.

Those looking to donate to the Nouanesengsy family can do so through the “Prayers for Lisa” Facebook page, which contains links to a donation website.

“Her spirit and the way she fights is almost unexplainable,” Ellis said. “That’s why we know she’s going to fight and get through this.”

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