Dempski new sports editor at Courier Press

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By Cara Dempski 

 

Hello, Prairie du Chien, and surrounding communities, my name is Cara (pronounced car-ah) Dempski, and I recently accepted a position as Sports Editor/reporter at the Courier. If my name sounds unfamiliar to you, that is because I am not from the area. I was born and raised in the Chippewa Valley (the Eau Claire area). I have relocated to Prairie du Chien from my hometown of Elk Mound. So, here I am, approximately 200 miles from my home, hoping to make a new home in a new community, that I am looking forward to learning about. 

I most recently worked for the Eau Claire newspaper, the Leader Telegram, where I was a one-person sports department covering close to 50 schools, including two universities. If you spot me around town, I am a tall woman with dark hair, I wear a leg brace and walk with a cane, because a stroke four years ago initially left me unable to walk. As some of you may eventually find, I have very strong convictions regarding the necessity for things like a concussion protocols in sports considering I am a survivor of a massive brain hemorrhage, which caused my stroke. I got into sports reporting in August 2016 after nearly a decade working in human services. I started my journalism career with a small media company based in Glenwood City, Wisconsin. 

From there, I moved to a position with a pair of Madison–area weekly newspapers, which is where I was working on December 21, 2018. That day, I had just returned to the office of the Lake Mills Leader after a Christmas lunch and Secret Santa gift exchange with my coworkers when we heard the local siren calling for fire department, and EMS staff to report to their respective stations. The managing editor, who would usually be the one to handle breaking news in the community, had not yet returned from her lunch, so, as the only reporter in the office at the time, I grabbed my camera and trotted off to a car accident site to provide coverage. While there I was speaking with a county deputy directing traffic at the intersection, when I experienced the worst headache I have ever had. I figured I was just getting a migraine, So initially brushed it off as just a headache until I realized how terrible I felt standing in the cold with the worst head pain I’ve ever experienced, and asked the deputy if I could sit in his squad for a little while to warm up. He allowed me to, and eventually determined I was having a stroke, and started his attempt to convince me to get in an ambulance and go to a hospital, I will always be grateful for his tenacity in the face of how stubborn this Danish/Russian woman can be. Today, nearly four years later, I still deal with lingering effects from the stroke, such as poor balance, and inability to use my left arm and hand. I do also suffer some neurological deficits, such as poor depth perception, and inability to accurately determine the passage of time, and it can be easy to overwhelm my senses.

If you happen to spot me at a game, or out exploring town, please do not hesitate to introduce yourself. I enjoy meeting new people, though I may initially seem somewhat shy.

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