The Cost of Being an Athlete

How injuries and concussions impact student athletes

Bianca Garcia and Behr Kitts

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The opportunity to play sports is always a fun time with friends and coaches. Playing sports teaches teamwork, hard work, discipline and a desire to win. Popular sports like soccer, football, baseball and basketball are relatively safe sports where anyone with the will to compete can participate.

Some common injuries include ankle sprains, groin pulls, hamstring strains, shin splints and knee injuries which are easy to identify. An injury that is not easily identified however is a concussion.

The reason a concussion can be overlooked is because it is an internal injury with the brain where it can not be visibly seen. According to Merriam Webster’s Dictionary a  concussion is temporary unconsciousness caused by a blow to the head or violent shaking.

Senior Christian Miller, a soccer player, has never suffered from a concussion but has had multiple injuries to his ankles.

“I’ve broken both of my feet playing soccer which has resulted in ankle problems,” Miller said.

Unfortunately, sports injuries occur that can negatively affect the athlete participating in the activity. These kind of injuries are visible and easy to identify and diagnose.

Miller had to be diligent while treating his injury.

“I iced, compressed and elevated all the injuries that I had and stayed off of it for weeks or months at a time,” Miller said.

When getting an injury it is important to take the necessary time off in order to heal the injury. If the injury is not fully healed and physical activity is resumed, it is very possible that the injury will become worse or even permanent.

Luckily, Miller’s injury only sidelined him for a little bit of time.

“For my feet [I was sidelined] a month or two if I can remember right. For my ankles maybe shortest was a day longest was two or three weeks,” Miller said.

Miller explained that playing soccer was different after his ankle was healed and that he had to adjust. Since his injury, Miller has made sure to prevent any further injuries by stretching, wearing an ankle brace and icing more after physical activities.

Coach Koerkenmeier, the head football coach at BV West is confident that the safety of football players is getting increasingly better.

“Our practices do not look like the practices there were ten years ago, we teach a rugby style tackling,” Koerkenmeir said.

This method has significantly lowered the number of concussions. In fact there were only a few last year. Helmets are also used to limit the amount of concussions.

“We buy the best helmets on the market to help the process,” Koerkenmeir said.

When and if a player gets a concussion, Koerkenmeier sends them to the athletic trainer, Tyler Sleeper to get evaluated. From there he lets the player know if they need to go to the doctors to get a diagnosis.

Senior Mckenna Mestas has experienced an injury that is going to affect the rest of her life as a result to competing in gymnastics for twelve years. Mestas’s gymnastic days came to an end when she did a flip off the bars and landed on her neck and back.

“Immediately as my hands slipped, I knew that it wasn’t going to end well” Mestas said. “At first I didn’t even know I could move, but luckily I did.”

She could no longer be involved in gymnastics, the thing she loved, but instead had to do physical therapy. She suffers from Spondylosis, age related wear and tear on the spinal disks. In addition she has a fracture in between her vertebrae where it is supposed to fuse.

“Unfortunately my injury is not able to be healed but I do amplified nerve therapy to help my pain,” Mestas said.

Some injuries might be minor but others can be very serious and affect people in the long run. Sometimes injuries can be avoided, while other times they cannot. It depends on the situation but what students can do to help is to keep safe and always wear the appropriate gear and clothes to help dangerous situations.

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