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A look into sports-related injuries

By Samantha Scarlatos, Staff Writer

Being an athlete comes with dedication and loads of physical work, which comes with the risks of injury that can occur. 

About 30 million children and teens participate in a sport in the U.S. Of these people, 3.5 million receive injuries each year. According to John Hopkins Medicine, the recreational sports we play account for one-third of the injuries we experienced as children. 

CNN has reported that the NFL saw a jump in the number of injuries since the end of the 2020 season. It’s also reported that the MLB saw their injuries double after the COVID-19 pandemic. Not only is this trend happening in the U.S., but professional leagues in other countries, such as England and Germany, have seen similar trends.

There are many reasons why injuries in professional sports are on the rise. The main reason will always be that these athletes do not get enough rest in order to heal. During the pandemic, seasons started later, bringing on a chaotic schedule with little time in between games. According to CNN, the NBA is a prime example, as they only played ten fewer games than their  usual season squeezed into just five months instead of seven. This left no time for players to take the time off that their bodies needed. 

Resuming physical activity suddenly after a long time off due to the pandemic can also cause injuries to happen more easily. The tissues and muscles in our bodies tend to soften with this time off.

Athletes believe that because money is on the line, their time off must be chosen very wisely. This mindset also doesn’t allow the body to heal when needed.

“I’ve received an injury before from dance which took a long time to heal. It was definitely due to the fact that I continued to push myself when it happened and ignored the pain. The only time we really have off is the few months of summer,” sophomore early education major Dale Console shares. 

Aside from the pandemic setting athletes up for injury, another reason players experience so much damage is because of the pressure put on by coaches and trainers to get back on the field or court as quickly as possible, ignoring the state of the injury and the potential for re-injury.

Unfortunately, there have been times in history when coaches risk a player’s health for a win. A former student-athlete from the University of Illinois named Simon Cvijanovic experienced this first-hand, tweeting multiple times about the team’s staff forcing injured players to keep playing during his time on the Illinois football team. 

Along with the pressure from mentors, comes the pressure from parents. When athletes receive an injury, it’s possible their parents have trouble understanding the severity of it. Families push players to be their best sometimes without taking their pain tolerance into consideration. 

“Whenever I get hurt dancing, I try not to show it on my face, and I’ll put pressure on myself to keep going. The last thing I want to do is let my team and family down,” Console adds. 

When strains go untreated, it’s possible that the discomfort and pain can keep building up, leading to the injury being re-aggravated. Cleveland Clinic states that it can lead to other things like stress fractures, cysts, nerve compression syndromes, herniated disks, and more. 

The media highlights these moments in sports very often, exposing the risks of some sports. This could be discouraging for upcoming athletes and worry a lot of parents. 

There are mental effects of these sports injuries as well. Athletes are often used to a certain routine and way of living. When this routine suddenly gets put on hold, players can experience boredom, depression, frustration, and tension with a negative mindset. 

“I have had to take time off from my sport before. I felt lonely without my team and hopeless without being able to do what I love. I almost felt lost without dance and wanted to force my body to fight through the pain,” Console said. 

While it is unfortunate to see such talented people cut their seasons short due to something out of their control, taking time to make sure they come back strong next season needs to be taken into consideration. 

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