Female Football Player Becomes First to Land an NIL Deal
Bella Rasmussen is smashing through defensive lines and gender norms in Laguna Beach, Calif. As a senior in high school, Rasmussenn played running back and defensive end for Laguna Beach High School's varsity football team and earlier this year became the first female player to ever score two touchdowns in one game for a California high school varsity team.
Now, Rasmussenn has a new achievement. She has become the first female football player to sign a name, image, and likeness deal.
Her deal is with KeyWise AI, an artificial intelligence application meant to help users transform their subjective observations of their mental health into hard data points. The purpose is to take human errors in judgement out of the evaluation process and help mental health professionals come up with more precise, data-based treatments and interventions for their patients.
“Mental health is important for anybody, not just somebody that’s an athlete on an all boys’ team as a girl. Being an athlete, there’s a huge mental toll. That’s not talked about a lot. ... But outside of that in general, I’ve seen the effects of bad mental health and mental illnesses and how that’s damaged communities and people close to me, too. That’s always been something that’s important to me," Rasmussenn said of the partnership.
Rasmussen's senior year finished with a division championship, her school's first since 1946, but she hasn't decided if that will be the end of her football journey. She has faced pushback against her playing at every level of football she has played, but just done it anyway.
"If somebody were to tell me they were going to give me an opportunity to go play college football, would it probably be pretty dangerous? Yes. Will I maybe get hurt? Most likely. But why the hell not? I would go do it. If I had the opportunity to play tackle football again, I would do it in a heartbeat,” said Rasmussenn on continuing her career.
Standing at 5'9" and 152 pounds will make it difficult for her to secure a roster spot at either of the positions she plays, regardless of her gender, but it certainly isn't out of the realm of possibility. Kansas State's Deuce Vaughn has captivated audiences this season as one of the better running backs at college football and is three inches shorter while only weighing 24 pounds more.