The Life of Injured Athletes

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Along with school and homework, many students also decide to add something else to their long to-do list: sports. According to U.S News, an estimated 55.5 percent of all high school students participate in athletics, and like any athlete, these students have to deal with the risk of injury everyday.

Sports injuries can have a serious effect on athletes, especially students. Pentucket sophomore, Kate Kelly, would know. Kelly participated in cross country and track, but as of now, she has spent over a year battling recurrent stress fractures in both of her feet.  

Physically, injuries like Kelly’s can mean being out of a sport for weeks, months, or even seasons at a time. Following that, students can rarely jump right back into their sports. Long amounts of time recovering from these injuries must be taken first. “[I lost] a lot of my muscle mass and I [lost] a lot of my stability, so I will have to go back to physical therapy,” explains Kelly.

Physical therapy helps athletes slowly integrate back into their sport. As mentioned by Burke Rehabilitation Hospital, physical therapists can provide an athlete with special exercises to prevent further injury. Kelly has already completed five months of physical therapy and has more to come.

Along with the physical impacts of sports, with injury comes the mental impacts. According to NCAA, there are many phases that come along with physical injuries. Sadness, lack of motivation, frustration, and disengagement can be among these. Kelly felt the effects during her own injury. “I definitely was depressed,” says Kelly, “it makes me upset when I think about it… it’s a little hard on [me].”

Because of the injuries, school can become a whole new challenge. “When I was on crutches,” Kelly explains, “operating around the school was not that great. It took a lot of time out of my day and didn’t feel normal.” These inconveniences are not where the struggles stop.  

Some of the mental struggles associated with sports can affect how students perform and feel in school. With a lack of motivation to remain on a team and the loss of an enjoyable outlet, school can become a place full of horrible reminders and extensive work. “I wouldn’t get my homework done. I had six hours to do it and it would take me so long because I just wanted to do anything but that.” shares Kelly after being asked about her school work after the injury.

Lastly, the most heartbreaking part of the injury is the loss of an athlete’s love of the sport. “This is my favorite sport, but it’s the thing that keeps injuring me,” explains Kelly. The mixed feelings make it hard for injured athletes to have the relationship they once had with their sport.