It was a hunch that only Ronda Rousey herself could confirm.
When speech pathologist Laura Smith learned that Ronda Rousey was coming to Denver to sign copies of her new book, My Fight/Your Fight (Regan Arts, 2015), she took a chance that the UFC women’s bantamweight champion might confirm that the disorder she had overcome as a child was apraxia. Apraxia is caused by a physical injury, in Rousey’s case being born with the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck, which makes planning words or movements extremely difficult. As someone known for her intelligence and physical coordination (she was the first American woman to win an Olympic medal in judo) who better to inspire children who must endure the rigorous work needed to overcome this disorder?
Smith’s 5-year-old daughter lives with the extreme daily challenges of apraxia and Smith specializes in apraxia of speech in her practice. Having “the world’s most dangerous woman” confirm that this is what she overcame could mean everything to her daughter and hundreds of children and their families.
In her article on The Mighty, Smith shared the details of their encounter. The line was endless and the bookstore was discouraging people from taking photos or talking to Rousey in order to keep things moving. However, when Smith’s daughter walked up holding her book, Rousey took a moment to ask her name. Smith saw her opening, and explained that her daughter lived with apraxia and asked if Rousey had, too.
“She looked incredulous and repeated, ‘Apraxia, yes, this is what they think I had.’
“I smiled. I knew it. Un-freaking believable. I looked over at the bodyguards. What the heck. I threw the CASANA brochure on the counter. They moved in, but she motioned them to stop.
“I said, ‘This is information on apraxia. If you really did have it, will you say that in your interviews instead of speech impediment? It would mean so much to our kids who are struggling with it.’
“She again looked at the brochure before looking back up at me and said, ‘I will. I really will.’
And she did.