Student-Athlete Feature: Women's Rowing Team Member Sam Bizon Overcomes Great Obstacles
Student-Athlete Feature: Sam Bizon (Women's Rowing)
(Editor's Note: This is the third feature story this fall at athletics.franklinpierce.edu. The first two have been written by Anthony Chighisola of the men's ice hockey team, but this week's feature is written by Morgan Miller, a member of the women's rowing team. Both Anthony and Morgan serve as feature writers for athletics.franklinpierce.edu.)
By Morgan Miller
On Oct. 22, 2011, thousands of spectators lined the bridges and shores of the Charles River in Boston, Mass. to watch the 2011 Head of the Charles Regatta. Among the competitors at this highly prestigious event was senior, Sam Bizon, stroking the women’s collegiate four for Franklin Pierce. It wasn’t an easy feat for Sam to be able to attend this prestigious event, as she had to overcome an injury that months earlier would scar her for life, literally.
Sam is an active individual with a bubbly sense of humor from South Windsor, Conn. She attended South Windsor High School where she was involved in band and didn’t know anything about rowing. Her knowledge increased about the sport when she attended Franklin Pierce and soon discovered that many of her friends were members of the team.
“I have always been active and love to work out, so I decided to try it sophomore year,” Bizon said.
Sam rowed for the team during the fall semester of her sophomore year, but then took a break from the sport when she decided to do the study abroad program in Vienna. However, she kept strong relations with head coach Jeff Allen and planned on coming back the following season. Little did she know, an accident that would alter her plans and change her life forever was waiting for her right around the corner.
“It was a normal day,” explained Bizon. “I had just gone to the gym and I was about to hop in the shower when one of my friends called and said he had brought a dog to campus that I should see.”
Sam is an avid animal lover, which is why her friend thought that she would be interested in seeing the animal. Even though Sam knew that dogs weren’t supposed to be allowed on campus, no red flags really went up for her and she was just excited to see the animal.
“The dog was a mix and I stayed cautious, but it turned out to be very friendly at first,” said Bizon. “However, the second I turned my back and let my guard down, it attacked me.”
Sam was rushed to Monadnock Hospital and then was sent to Dartmouth to get emergency plastic surgery on her face. Future plans and goals were tossed up in the air for Sam and she did not know what would happen next.
A week before the accident Bizon had made plans to attend the school’s alternative spring break trip to Arizona. Following the unfortunate incident, Bizon became disappointed and distraught over the fact that a trip she had planned and was looking forward to was now in jeopardy. However, she was able to arrange to have her series of rabies shots administered through the school for 1-to-2 weeks after the accident, thus enabling her to make the trip, which turned out to be the opportunity of a lifetime.
“We did Habitat for Humanity and even climbed the Grand Canyon,” Bizon said of the trip, which brought her a lot of happiness following the down time of the accident. “ It was an amazing experience.”
Upon returning from spring break, Sam really had to come to terms with the reality of her injury and people talking about it. However, instead of being down about the situation she decided to make light of it to keep her peace of mind and avoid anymore distractions.
“My scare was healing into the shape of a “K”,” she said. “Everyone thought I was the member of some crazy gang. I just laughed it off.”
Months after the accident, Sam started training again to return to crew for the fall semester of 2011. She returned to the team and never regrets the decision she made to go back.
“Crew just seems natural to me,” she added. “It’s one of the only places I fit in.”
The hard work Bizon put into returning to the rowing team paid off in the fall when the women’s squad was picked to compete in the Head of the Charles after a few years of missing out on an invitation to the prestigious event. The regatta brings spectators and competitors from all over the world, and Bizon described the experience as one of the best experiences of her life.
“The Head of the Charles was one of the best experiences ever,” she said. “Crew is unlike any other sport, so much dedication is required.”
Even though Sam will be graduating in the spring, she expressed that she doesn’t want her rowing career to end after college.
“I really want to turn this into something. Hopefully, I can row for a club team over the summer after graduation,” she added.
On and off the water, Sam is a very driven and motivated individual. “Just Plain Tough,” or, “JPT,” is saying that one constantly hears down at the boathouse or at any rowing practice on the waters of Pearly Pond. That saying has special meaning for Bizon, who has overcome a trying injury and returned as a member of the women’s rowing team, which is in the midst of having one of the best seasons in program history.