It’s All Fun and Games Till Someone Gets Hurt

Cross' eye a few days after her injury.

Injuries are a part of the game, but they can be a serious problem for students who participate in sports.

by Bradley Bogaczyk and Christian Daniel

Cross' eye a few days after her injury.

Cross’ eye a few days after her injury.

School sports and sports in general are fun to watch and play. Many of us do not realize the dangers and risks involved in playing sports even in the high school. Even in non contact or collision sports, injuries can still be a problem.

Senior varsity softball player Kaylee Cross recently received a face injury at softball practice. It may sound odd, but according to the Southwest Athletic Trainers’ Association (SWATA) 62% of sports injuries occur at practice, not in a game. “The ball was hit at me, and I was ready to field it,” she said. “Then, when it took a bounce in front of me it hit a rock and went straight to my eye.” Cross immediately fell down and her cheek swelled up, leaving her with a black eye.

Although boys sports are thought of as more violent, girls in basketball and in soccer have a greater than 40% chance of getting a concussion compared to boys, according to SWATA.

Cross is not the only one to receive an injury playing on a school field. Senior varsity baseball player Spencer Courtney also suffered a face injury. He was receiving a throw standing at second base from the outfield. It took a bounce on the lip of the field, the edge where the grass and sand meet, and hit him in the face. “I was going to let the ball take a bounce then catch it, but it hit a bad spot in the field and ended up hitting my sunglasses,” he said.

Cleary's injury the day of his collision.

Cleary’s injury the day of his collision.

Junior Hunter Cleary, who is also on the varsity baseball team, had the same injury as Courtney. He was receiving a pass from the outfield and it bounced up and hit his sunglasses and cut his face. “It hurt pretty bad,” he said, “but at least I didn’t cry.” Luckily, all Cleary and Courtney ended up with were cuts and scratched sunglasses, not concussions.

Although injuries can hinder a team’s performance they also open up opportunities for other players to step up. “Hopefully, the players that fill the shoes of the injured player are mentally prepared to step up and play,” said baseball Coach Bobby Gibbons.

Bumps, cuts and bruises, are not the only injuries students receive playing sports. Some are a lot more serious including ligament tears, sprains and broken bones. Junior lacrosse player Joe Poudrier tore his ACL during an off-season lacrosse tournament this winter. “I knew right away that something serious was wrong with my knee as soon as I went down in the game,” he said. “I went to the hospital and they told me that something was most likely wrong with my knee but I should go get an MRI to be completely sure.” Poudrier is fully recovered and playing on the varsity lacrosse team.

“The past few years we have had players who hurt their knees either during the season or during off-season games. The sport is pretty tough on your knees,” said lacrosse Coach Joe Casalino. “Thankfully, most have recovered quickly and have gotten back into the game.”

Sophomore soccer player Kaitlyn Culbert recently had surgery on her ankle. “I was running to a ball and two or three of the other team’s players collided with me,” she said. Culbert sprained her ankle badly enough to need surgery. At press time, she was still recovering on crutches.

People don’t think of soccer as having collisions or being a contact sport, but it most definitely is. According to a study in the journal Pediatrics, boys’ and girls’ soccer are in the top ten sports for injuries with girls’ soccer being number two. “I was going for a ball and ended up kicking the defensemen’s foot,” said senior soccer player Andre Hood. “I had to get surgery on my big toe because there were bone fragments floating around in there.” Hood is now wearing a foot brace with his toe wrapped up to help it recover before his college soccer season at St. John’s next year.

Though sports are a good way to exercise and meet new people, there are risks involved from a minor scrape to a torn ACL. For many, these positives to playing sports outweigh the risk of injury.

Sidebar: Recovery Time for Common Sports Injuries

  • Fractured Bone: Six to eight weeks
  • Fractured Finger: Three to five weeks
  • Minor Sprained Ankle: Five days
  • Severe Sprained Ankle: Three to six weeks
  • Minor Muscle Strain: Two weeks
  • Severe Muscle Strain: Up to three months
  • Torn ACL: After surgery, five months to heal
  • Mild Shoulder Separation: Two weeks
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