PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — On July 11, 2016, a group of friends was enjoying a boating trip on the Allegheny River when something went terribly wrong.
The group smelled gasoline and then there was an explosion. Everyone on board was forced to jump for their lives.
For Angela Baker, a wide receiver for the Pittsburgh Passion football team, it was supposed to be a fun day off from the hard-charging, hard-hitting practices on the football field.
As she waited for rescue boats to arrive, Baker was happy to be alive. She knew the boat was on fire and that there had been an explosion, but she didn’t realize just how bad things really were for her.
“I didn’t know that anything was wrong until we got pulled up on the boat. As soon as the air touched my legs, I realized that something wasn’t right,” said Baker.
Baker suffered second- and third-degree burns to her legs from the knees down. She was rushed to the burn unit at the hospital, where she immediately started to question doctors.
“First thing I asked the doctors was, was I going to be able to play football again?” she said.
Baker underwent several surgeries to repair the damage to her legs, including getting skin grafts. Through it all, this tough football player was determined to play football again.
Baker began playing football when she was just 5-years-old. It is her passion, no pun intended.
A member of the Pittsburgh Passion for seven years, her teammates rallied around her.
Her family was with her every step. Slowly but surely, Baker made it back on the field. Not only was she playing again for the Passion, but she won a gold medal playing for the U.S. Women’s National team, and this year she was selected for the All-American team.
“I think about the fact that I can still play football, I can still do all the things that I love,” Baker said.
Though Baker now wears protective garments and layers over her scars to prevent injury and infection.
“It just made you realize that life is never guaranteed. It put things in perspective, and for that I am thankful,” she added.