UPDATE: Listen to my 2020 interview with Amanda here.
It got pretty crazy in Jordan-Hare after the 2013 Iron Bowl. Some students actually got hurt.
One hedge jumper had to have an ACL repaired. Another had to ring in 2014 in an ankle cast.
Amanda Carter, who graduated from Auburn in 2016 with a degree in Animal Sciences, and who is currently in her second year at Auburn’s vet school, had to have throat surgery.
She swears she wasn’t drunk.
“I had not had a drop of alcohol that day,” she laughs. “I was totally fine! People are like ‘you must have just been absolutely out of your mind to have screamed that much.’ And, I don’t know… I don’t think I was screaming any louder than anyone else. I mean, there wasn’t a person who wasn’t screaming, and I was screaming and yelling and squealing and whooping and hollering, but it didn’t seem like that much.”
According to the doctor, it was.
Sure, a lot of Auburn students lose their voice at football games. The problem was, Amanda never found hers — not really. Not by Sunday, not by Monday, not by the SEC Championship Game, not by Christmas, not by the time she went out to Pasadena to (try to) cheer Auburn on against the Seminoles.
“After two weeks, I was like ‘my voice is still really scratchy, but it’s going to better, it’s going to get better.'”
When it didn’t, she blamed it on all the talking she did back home in Montgomery over the holidays. Family was in town. Friends from high school were back. Sure, it hurt a little, and then a little more, but hey, she likes to talk.
“It kind of just became a part of life, and I almost sort of stopped paying attention to it,” she says. “And then the next thing I know it’s April and I’m like, ‘my voice still hurts, and it’s still scratchy.'”
She went to an ENT in Auburn, who stuck a camera up her nose and down her throat and found a nodule on one of her vocal cords, something speech therapy can sometimes take care of. So off she went to Auburn University’s speech pathology clinic to learn how not to talk like a Kardashian.
That’s how Auburn’s speech folks will describe the sound of “vocal fry” — like Kim Kardashian (or maybe someone doing a Kim Kardashian impression) saying “Oh my God” or something. And that’s what Amanda Carter was suffering from, that’s what she sounded like… thanks to Chris Davis.
But even after months of exercises and vocal trills and tips on how to —she says she’ll never forget the term — “speak forward,” she still sounded like she’d just seen the greatest football game ever.
Next stop: UAB.
A specialist went back in for another laryngoscopy. It wasn’t pretty.
“The nodule had rubbed the other vocal cord and it had also developed something, and it just wasn’t getting any better.”
Had she taken a vow of silence for a week or two after the game, things might have been different, the doctors said. Things might have healed on their own, and way before December 2014, which is when Amanda finally had her one-of-a-kind Kick Six souvenirs burned off with a laser.
She’s been Kardashian Voice free for nearly four years now, but her pipes still aren’t quite what they used to be. She goes hoarse pretty quickly these days, which is hard for an extrovert, she says. No more trying to carry a conversation over the noise of a bar. No more belting along at a concert or screaming on a roller coaster.
And, of course, fall Saturdays will never be the same. She’ll occasionally risk a pre-kick Bodda Getta or Two Bits or something. But beyond that, it’s purely shakers and applause.
“I’m sure everyone around me probably doesn’t think I’m a big Auburn fan anymore,” Amanda says. “I’m just like ‘if only you knew… if only you knew.'”
LISTEN TO MY 2020 INTERVIEW WITH AMANDA HERE.