Dr. Bang Bang has the cure for what ails Denver's derby dolls

See also: Photos: See the gruesome roller derby-related injuries fixed by cover girl Dr. Bang Bang

Dr. Bang Bang has the cure for what ails Denver's derby dolls
Anthony Camera

It's nearly 10 p.m. on a Wednesday night, and the Denver Roller Dolls have just finished a punishing scrimmage. The warehouse where they practice smells like a damp locker room as the skaters peel off their knee and elbow pads, wrist guards, bandages and braces.

While a few discuss a late dinner and drinks, others are groaning, nursing the old injuries — or new ones — that are common in roller derby. That's where Dr. Bang Bang comes in.

See also: Photos: See the gruesome roller derby-related injuries fixed by cover girl Dr. Bang Bang

A no-nonsense blocker and jammer on the track, Kimmy Kimmy Bang Bang, whose real name is Kim Wilms, is a foot and ankle surgeon by profession. Tonight, she whooshes past her teammates to the table where she's stashed her supplies. She unlaces her skates, frees her hair from her helmet and begins pawing through a black medical bag. Among the stethoscope, the reflex hammer and the scalpel she uses for shaving calluses, she finds what she's looking for: a fresh needle and two tiny bottles of liquid. One is lidocaine, to numb her teammate's foot. The other is cortisone, to calm her inflammation. Snapping on a white latex glove, she screws the needle onto the plunger and draws a milky liquid out of one of the bottles.

The skater for whom the needle is intended glides over to where Wilms is standing. "Let's get stabbed!" shouts Ariel "Crash Dance" Quigley. Like most of the girls, Quigley is sweaty in her spandex and tank top, one strap of which partly covers a tattoo on her shoulder blade that says, in fabulous '80s airbrush font, "Nobody puts Baby in a corner." And like most of the girls, she's got some aches and pains — in this case, an inflamed bunion near her baby toe.

"No, she's shaving my toe first!" hollers Krystal "Gator Dunn" Sprouse, a long-legged skater who has flopped into one of the hand-me-down easy chairs that take up a corner of the warehouse, affectionately known as the Glitterdome. After examining one of Sprouse's injured fingers, Wilms promises to shave her toe callus the next time. Right now, she has to inject Quigley.

Such is the life of the roller-derby doctor.

A muscular blond bombshell with a sweet smile and a stare that can turn cold in competition, Wilms, who is 32, looks more like a broadcast journalist than a Roller Doll — or a doctor. But her teammates say that hitting her on the track is like running into a wall. Off the track, though, Wilms is quiet and easygoing. She lets her hands and her tools do the talking.

Over the past two years, she's operated on four skaters' broken ankles and helped many others with the sprains, sores and bruises that come with playing the fast-paced contact sport.

For the Denver Roller Dolls, one of the city's two world-class roller-derby leagues, she's like the team's in-house doctor, a medical professional who shares a love for derby and understands the havoc it can wreak on skaters' bodies. And she's critical to their health, especially if the team wants to return this November to the Women's Flat Track Derby Association Championships, which is like the Super Bowl of roller derby.

"She just has exactly the combination of experience and legitimate concern for you that you want," says Caitlin "Muffin" Krause, a former skater who broke her ankle so badly last year that her entire foot twisted around backward, like Linda Blair's head in The Exorcist.

"I don't know if other doctors would understand."

**********

Wilms first heard about roller derby in the operating room at Rose Medical Center.

"One of the surgical techs started talking about roller derby. And I was like, 'There's such a thing?'" Wilms recalls. It turned out the tech had been a coach for the Dolls, and he encouraged her to look into the sport. That night, Wilms looked up the team online and asked for a tryout. She made it on her first attempt in April 2008 without ever having seen a real bout.

Then again, Wilms had been skating since she was three years old. She grew up in a rural town in northeastern Ohio on a dead-end street surrounded by woods. The second of three kids, she spent her early childhood trying to keep up with her energetic older brother. "I even wrecked on training wheels," she jokes. As she got older, she played nearly every sport offered to girls, including soccer, softball, volleyball, basketball and track. She also took skating lessons at the local roller rink. From the beginning, she wanted to be the fastest. "Roller rinks in the '80s would always have little races with kids your age," Wilms says, "and I had to beat them."

She went on to play soccer in college, but she blew out her knee in her first game, tearing both her ACL and her meniscus. It took her two years to fully recover from that injury, but it also cemented her interest in becoming a doctor. "Injuries fascinated me," she says. She loved the puzzle of trying to figure out what went wrong and how to make it right.

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11 comments
lcomer51
lcomer51

Dr. Wilms treated my big toe injuries and was simply the most caring, compassionate and knowledgeable podiatrist.  I have diabetic feet issues, injured both feet while visiting here, and she actually made a house call and helped me right away.  She went above and beyond and even cut my shoe inserts to take pressure off the injured toes.   I just cannot thank her enough for her care and expertise in getting my feet on way to total recovery.


DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

 "chatted about the upcoming weekend's bout and joked about "boob tagging," a game whose rules are just what you'd imagine."

I wanna play!



Juan_Leg
Juan_Leg

I wouldn't trade a dozen 'Kim's' for my doctor and friend . Finding a GOOD doctor has cut my narcotic intake by more than in 1/2 !  She DOESN'T greet me w/ a prescription pad in hand . I won't mention her name out of courtesy but  more than likely, she has kept me alive for 15 yrs or so more, on this miserable planet . Just maybe I'll be around long enough to see everyone blow each other up w/ the 'Oh so feared', "WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION !!! ", I keep hearing about ......

kimberly.hathcock
kimberly.hathcock

Yayyyy Kimmy! So cool that you got the cover, love ya girl!!!

MOrde
MOrde

I have been under the knife of my teammate DR Kimmy Kimmy bang bang and she did go out of her way in trying to find the surgery less costly. I broke my Left ankle in roller derby as well. My doctor took care of me and even made house calls. Best doctor I have ever had. She is very compassionate, hard working doctor and an excellent skater.  You put me back together, so I could continue with skating but most importantly become a mortician. Love ya kimmy.

fishingblues
fishingblues topcommenter

Dr. Bang Bang?  I'm just going to leave it alone.  

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@fishingblues  ... makes me want to injure myself ...

Juan_Leg
Juan_Leg

@DonkeyHotay  

'Fish' is already permanently injured and out of commission in that 'spot' ...

He'd talk her to death w/ much of his senseless theories & beliefs .

' His plagiarism talents noted ......'  

 
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