Sports Injuries

Mo Murray, Reporter

Many student athletes have experienced or watched someone experience an injury that seriously affected their athletic career. These tragic yet common injuries can occur at any moment in a sport, and can not only be caused by contact between players, but simple overuse of a body part.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control, high school athletes account for around 2 million injuries each year. In addition, the CDC estimates that over half of all sports related injuries are preventable. But for many, a life changing injury comes without warning.

Senior Mara Morrissey, who plays varsity soccer, was at a normal pre-season practice before her freshman year when she turned her leg in slightly the wrong way. She had no pre existing knee injuries, but after this slight accident,  she had to be rushed to the hospital and into emergency surgery to remove a chipped piece of bone that had been wedged underneath her knee cap, and put in a screw which remains in her knee to this day.

“I had a full brace with a 6 month recovery,” said Morrissey. “The hardest part emotionally was the fact that soccer and volleyball were my life. Being taken away from those two for almost a year in total made it hard for me, not being able to participate in activities my friends were in.” Fortunately, Morrissey was able to recover and return to playing the sport she loved with her teammates, who were an important part of her support system during that difficult time.

Morrissey isn’t the only student athlete to experience the frustrations of a serious injury. Junior Addie Birgenheier, along with various injuries such as nerve damage caused by severe knee and ankle injuries, has suffered 6 concussions.

Concussions, when undetected, can lead to long term brain damage. In the last decade, concussions among teens aged 14 – 19 have increased by 200% (CDC). After too many concussions, athletes are often discouraged by their doctors and trainers to return to a sport where more potential damage could occur.

“I experienced an inner struggle with preventing more (concussions) by stopping the playing of a sport I love,” said Birgenheier. But for her, giving up isn’t an option. She has found a new family within the DHS swim and tennis teams, where her risk of another head injury is greatly reduced and she can still compete as a student athlete.

Basketball player Danielle Lee is still recovering from an ACL injury she sustained this season. ACL injuries are extremely common in young female athletes, and are one of the most difficult injuries to recover from.

Through this difficult process, Lee has learned that positivity is essential to emotional and physical recovery. “Having a smile on my face keeps me looking forward to when I get to be back doing the things I love,” said Lee. “And I know I’ll come back stronger than before, mentally, physically, and emotionally.”

Birgenheier offers this playful advice to anyone who needs help recovering from a tough situation; “play with doggies! They won’t look at you with pity, they just lick you and look at you with big eyes and wag their tail. It always makes me feel better.”