School of Medicine

Wayne State University School of Medicine

Research assistant can be found on derby track when not in the lab

Courtney Cartrette, aka "Travis Blocker."

Courtney Cartrette, aka "Travis Blocker."

When WSU School of Medicine Research Assistant Courtney Cartrette isn’t helping to annihilate pediatric maladies in the lab, she’s annihilating her competition on the roller derby track.

Cartrette, a member of the Pediatrics Emergency Medicine Department, is a member of the Pistolwhippers, one of five home teams in the Detroit Derby Girls roller derby league. But this is no cupcake sport; Cartrette spent three months on the sidelines last year after breaking her leg during a scrimmage. That's when co-workers around the School of Medicine learned of her unique hobby.

"They thought I was joking when I told them I was hurt playing roller derby," said Cartrette, a 2008 graduate of Eastern Michigan University. "Now they come to watch me skate."

Her chosen derby name, Travis Blocker, was inspired by her love for the rock band Blink-182 and its tattoo-cloaked drummer, Travis Barker.

"I love derby because it brings such a diverse group of women together,” said Cartrette, who also skates for the Motor City Disassembly Line, one of the league’s competitive travel teams. “It’s such an inclusive and empowering sport.”

Cartrette said that roller derby has taught her many lessons she can bring back to the lab, but one of the most poignant is self-confidence. “I’m more confident in myself and in my knowledge. I stand up for myself more now than I might have in the past.”

The next Detroit Derby Girls bout takes place Jan. 5 at the Masonic Temple. A full schedule and a link to purchase tickets can be found at The bouts are broadcast live on WSU radio
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