Sports spotlight

Caroline Ohlandt, co-news editor

In every sport, at every game and every practice, there seems to be at least one athlete sitting on the sidelines, unable to play. These players are plagued with an athlete’s greatest fear and inevitable reality: injury.

So this is written for the injured athlete, whose world is crumbling as they helplessly lose one of the most vital parts of their life: their sport.

I was a competitive dancer, specializing in acrobatic dance and contortion. For years, I worked my body to the point of exhaustion until eventually my back literally snapped. A dreaded visit to the doctor confirmed I fractured my lower lumbar spine, and, in a moment’s time, I went from practicing 20 hours a week to wearing a back brace 22 hours a day.

From the moment you get injured, the mental and physical toll is devastating. Not only are you in physical pain, but the countless hours you used to spend having fun at practice are replaced with days spent in physical therapy, and no end in sight. If you’re “lucky”, you’ll be able to recover without surgery.

Physically recovering is just the beginning, however, because no athlete can avoid the mental battle. When you’re injured, you lose the most fundamental and stable part of your life as an athlete, and are consumed with the constant feeling of being dragged down—not to mention the feeling of bringing your teammates down with you.

You are frustrated at your body for betraying you.

You feel worthless and like you are hurting your team.

So I speak from experience when I say that injuries suck.

You are allowed to grieve and mourn that integral part of yourself that you were forced to step away from. You are allowed to take the time to rest and recover as you rebuild yourself both mentally and physically.

You will survive and start competing again.

Without a second thought, you willingly put yourself back in the exact situation that injured you in the first place. It seems insane and like you are tempting fate. But you do it out of love for your sport, for that indescribable feeling you only get when doing what your body and soul were designed for.

However as you continue to recover from your injury, savor the moments you have with your team. Be a part of those cheesy traditions and cry with your teammates when the season’s final game arrives. Just because you cannot help your team on the field doesn’t mean you are not just as vital as every other player.

The time we have left as high school athletes is coming to an end. Do not let your injury win.