'They don't care what I look like': Brookfield East football manager embraces her 'normal' living with alopecia

Posted at 8:03 PM, Sep 06, 2021

Get more details on Morgan's Ride for Alopecia here.

This time of the year, all eyes are on the guys in the helmets and pads. But that doesn't mean they are the only ones on the sideline with a story to tell.

"I get a lot of stares, like wherever I go, I get stares all the time," says Maddie Pankow, Brookfield East football manager.

Maddie is Brookfield East's football manager and the only girl on the football team.

"I set up equipment, I put it away," says Maddie.

She's also bald.

"I lost all my hair freshman year, and being a bald girl in high school is very hard. Since you want to live up to that 'pretty girl' normal," says Maddie.

Diagnosed with alopecia, an auto-immune disease, at the age of two, Maddie has struggled with normal her entire life.

"I decided to get steroid injections into my head to restart the growth of the hair. So I had to get ike 70 shots in my head once a month for 6 months. Which was very painful and it worked for a little bit but then it just made things worse," says Maddie.

That's when Maddie decided it was time for the big cut.

"So I went to my living room and I was like mom, shave it off! She was like are you sure? And I was like yep," says Maddies.

Taking care of herself, just like she takes care of the Spartans, Maddie isn't the "bald girl" on the football field.

"I love it so much. These boys treat me amazing, they don't care what I look like and they just treat me like one of them which is nice," says Maddie.

She's the team manager, a friend, and an inspiration.

"I was so scared at first, but then I just decided that it's going to be a tough journey but I have support from my family and friends so let's do it. To those out there that are dealing with alopecia I say, just embrace it," says Maddie.

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