When she was 14, Zoe Wroten-Morrissey sustained a severe leg injury in a motocross accident. It took multiple surgeries and a couple years of recovery and physical therapy before she could walk normally again.
But she never lost her passion for the sport. And shortly after she walks across the stage at Chartway Arena on Dec. 16 to receive her bachelor’s degree in marketing with a concentration in digital marketing from Old Dominion University’s Strome College of Business, she’ll take the next step in promoting the sport she loves.
“I count my blessings every day,” she said.
Wroten-Morrissey, who graduated from Grassfield High School in Chesapeake, was injured during a practice run for a 2016 regional competition in North Carolina. She came up short while landing a jump, and the resulting hard impact shattered her right ankle, splintering her talus and lower tibia and fibula into “over 20 pieces.”
“Everything changed with just a single mistake,” said Wroten-Morrissey, who got her first motocross bike at age 2 and began racing when she was 5. “I have a very high pain tolerance, but it was horrendous. It was an emotional ride for my entire family.”
Dr. Blake Moore, a foot and ankle orthopedic surgeon with Atlantic Orthopedic Specialists, got her back on her feet. She underwent three surgeries, including an ankle reconstruction.
She said she still has two plates in her ankle. “I lost a little bit of mobility, but overall my ankle works now,” said Wroten-Morrissey, who still rides motocross bikes though not competitively. “That’s all that matters.”
Her lengthy rehab first inspired her to pursue a career as a physical therapist. But in 2019, she took a role as an event marketing representative/social media manager for Live Nation Worldwide Inc. in Virginia Beach.
“That’s where I initially found my passion for social media marketing,” she said.
She also realized that this could be an avenue for her to remain involved in motocross.
“I love the sport, but I can't risk another injury like that,” Wroten-Morrissey said. “So that's when I started to get involved with social media and the business aspect of the sport.”
She has been an event staff member/social media manager for Elizabeth City Motorsports Park since 2016; served internships at Loretta Lynn’s AMA Motocross Championships in 2020 and 2023; and this past summer took on social media management/marketing responsibilities for Budds Creek MX Park in Mechanicsville, Maryland.
She also earned an associate degree in business administration and marketing from Tidewater Community College in 2022 before enrolling at ODU.
“I really loved their business school. I loved the program,” she said of her decision to enroll at ODU. “And it was just very easy to transfer from TCC. They have the guaranteed-transfer program. So to me, that was a no-brainer. The transfer was as seamless as possible.”
She has thrived at ODU, both inside and outside the classroom.
She serves as vice president of advertising and social media and budget director for the American Marketing Association Strome Marketers club. She also has a social media coordinator internship with the Mainivent Advertising Agency, handling its Hunt Club Farm client.
Michelle Carpenter, senior lecturer in the Department of Marketing and adviser for the Strome Marketers, praised Wroten-Morrissey’s work ethic.
“I have been impressed with her continuous active engagement and initiative in the club,” said Carpenter, who has Wroten-Morrissey in her Marketing Policy and Strategy course. “To date she has developed multiple social media posts for several of our key events and assisted with Marketing and Sales Week, the Strome Brand Challenge, our Ice Cream Social and the Fall Org Fair. We are thankful for her leadership and look forward to Zoe’s future success.”
In January, she will start a job with Florida-based FELD Entertainment as a VIP experience host for all 17 rounds of its Supercross events, the three rounds of Supermotocross, as well as the final round of Monster Jam. Wroten-Morrisey will guide fans through a behind-the-scenes look at the track and interactions with the professional riders. She said this is a seasonal position but could become a full-time job.
She sees this – and her other motocross positions – as steppingstones to potentially becoming a marketing manager for FELD or one of the major motocross teams.
“So that's kind of my end goal,” she said, “to just kind of build up to that point by taking little positions until they grow into something bigger.”