The Atlanta Steam found out on Thursday, June 20 that running back Nasira “Nas” Johnson had suffered an injury while on her day job as an Atlanta Police Department officer, and that her season would come to an end as the Steam were battling for a post season spot in the team’s inaugural season. The Steam went on to win the South Division before falling to the Philadelphia Passion in the Divisional Round, 28-20.
Related: Steam Season Review
While the season-ending injury was a big disappointment for Nas, she has spent the last couple of months recovering and sharing her experience as a professional football player with players on a youth league team in Atlanta.
This is Johnson’s first season as a football coach, but her fifth overall after being the Head Coach of both the girls’ varsity volleyball and basketball teams for four seasons in her hometown of Newark, New Jersey, which is a high poverty, high crime area. Nas is the running backs coach for the 10 and under Police Athletic League team that consists of underprivileged kids from inner-city Atlanta. She also works with the defensive backs.
Nas says that the majority of the players come to practice in jeans, tee-shirts and sneakers because they cannot afford proper practice attire, but that “It’s a true blessing to see these kids develop.”
Johnson told me during our chat that she has “always believed in giving back to my community and other communities that are similar because I was once one of those kids with a dream and no chance. I hope to be a positive role model for these kids. I am living proof that you can get out.”
All the coaches are volunteers, and most are current police officers as well. Head Coach Jones, Coach Hall (WR) and Coach Beauvil (D-Line) are all current officers while Coach Fields (O-Line) is a retired officer.
As for her injury, Nas says she has been working hard and that she should be fully recovered in 2-3 months and ready for the season. Her doctors have told her that she has recovered quickly and is ahead of the expected time for full recovery.
2013 Steam Highlights:
-Atlanta wins the Southeastern Division Championship after finishing 2-1-1
- Coco Montgomery (TE/DE) was chosen as a First Team offensive member, and a Second Team defensive player for the LFL Eastern All-Fantasy Team.
-Sharlene Fuller (S) and Brittney Sharp (CB) were both First Team defensive selections for the squad.
The Steam play home games at the 11,355-seat Arena at Gwinnett Center, located just off I-85 on Sugarloaf Parkway in Duluth.