Injuries are a dangerous game

Posted 4:27 PM by

      From football to cross country, sports can get dangerous. Playing sports at a high school level puts student athletes at a higher risk of sustaining potentially crippling injuries. Injuries play a big part in all sports and affect athletes of all levels and ages.

      Contact sports, such as football and soccer, carry the highest percentage for injuries, according to the Youth Sports Safety Alliance. Consumers Product Safety Commission experts say sports are responsible for the most emergency room visits. Basketball, football and soccer were the leading contributors for sport injuries that led to emergency room visits. Athletes in these sports generally have dreams of playing at the collegiate or professional level. An injury could put stress on players with these types of dreams.

    “Colleges are scared to take a chance on an injured player,” said junior football player David Bell.

      Depending on the timing and severity, an injury could change the course of a student athlete’s career. Timing affects the healing process and the performance an athlete can give. Recruiting typically begins sophomore year and impressing scouts is the main goal.

    “Sophomore year was when a lot of my recruiting started,” said senior football player Julius Brents. “If I was injured then, I don’t know where I’d be today.”

      It’s a commonality for injuries to be hidden for the sake of performance. Afflictions like concussions, sprains, and tears could sit a player out for two to three games.

    “Missing games is the worst feeling as an athlete,” said senior football player Jason Holland. “You feel like you’re being held back.”

       Student athletes regularly hide injuries. According to the At Your Own Risk Organization, 54 percent of athletes have confessed to playing through a injury and 42 percent said they have hidden a injury in a game to continue playing.

      “I kept trying to play through something that I should of gotten checked out,” said senior Marcelino Rosas. “It made me not play as well my junior year.”

       The recovery process can be extensive and even when athletes return, they are never the same athlete as they were before.

      “When I was cleared to cheer again, I wasn’t allowed to do as much as I could before,” said senior cheerleader Paiten Price. “I couldn’t perform up to my full potential.” The mental trauma of an injury can be a game changer for athletes as well. It makes students more aware of sports safety.

      “Once you get older and experience an injury, you tend to take better care of your body,” said Brents.

        In post recovery, it is common for student athletes to become hesitant of the choices they make. Some athletes become more cautious while playing and try to avoid risk.

      “I’m scared to do certain things now,” said junior volleyball player and track runner, Prommyse Hoosier.

       Although the process of recovery for most injuries have the same steps, each athlete goes through the process at a different pace. According to athletic trainer Gerald Mickler, the recovery process is usually managing pain, regaining range of motion and strength, regaining agility and function, and regaining sport specific ability.

       School athletic trainers play a large part in the recovery process of student athletes. Trainers are trained to immediately tend to athletes when an injury occurs and to refer athletes to other resources if necessary.

     “We are responsible for being the first line of defense for athletic injuries,” said Mickler.

       A study conducted by Alicia Pike of the Korey Stringer Institute at the University of Connecticut found that only 37 percent of public schools in the United States offer full time athletic services. According to Pike, school athletic trainers are a vital aspect of health and safety for student athletes.

      “Not too many schools have trainers there all the time, so I definitely use that to my advantage,” said Holland.

       Although injuries are something to avoid, some athletes will still roll the dice and take their chances.

     “You just go out there, play the game and hope by the grace of God you’re protected,” said Brents.