Injuries: to keep playing or sit out?
January 15, 2017
Filed under Editorials
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It’s playoff season. Your entire team is working twice as hard to play their best. You lack time to sleep, eat, and the only thing that matters to you is winning.
With all this pressure to perform at your highest competitive level in whatever sport you’re involved in, injuries become inevitable, and quite frankly, every coach’s and athlete’s biggest fear. The last thing anyone wants is to be benched during the most important time of the season. With this pressure of playing your best comes the pressure to hide injuries and stick it out for the sake of the team. The question every athlete must ask themselves in this situation is whether they should play through an injury or sit out.
We, The Roar, believe that although it’s important to pull your weight on any sports team, it’s more important to take care of yourself. Playing while injured can cause serious consequences and turn a slight injury into a serious one. Many athletes have hidden concussions or played through something like back pain, quite frankly, because they are easy injuries to hide. Since those with concussions usually have a dazed expression, simply avoiding eye contact with your coach can prevent them from knowing you have a concussion.
The most detrimental thing to do is to neglect your own needs and health for the sake of a sports team. A minor pull, ache, or tear that doesn’t receive the rest and care it requires could cause even more damage, and a more serious injury could occur. It also puts your team at risk, since playing with an injury makes you vulnerable to injuring yourself even more during the game, giving the other team an advantage and you an even bigger problem. Playing with an injury could also prevent you from playing any sport or even walking again. For instance, a neglected pain in your achilles tendon could result in a complete tear, which often takes months to recover from. In an article from the American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society, patients don’t return to full recovery from surgery for an achilles tendon rupture for about six months. Whereas with an achilles tendon tear, it only takes about six to ten weeks to recover according to an article by WebMD. Another prominent issue at BHS is hiding concussions or back pain. Concussions, although easy to hide, can cause long-term complications according to an article by the New York Times. Problems with memory and concentration could occur if a concussion is ignored, and if another concussion occurs while hiding the first one, the problems could become compounded.
Some might argue that sitting out because of an injury could cost their team a championship, and that the regret and blaming themselves for the loss would be harder to deal with than a longer recovery time. They might feel like they would let their coaches, teammates, and parents down, and therefore, end up thinking that their pride is more important than their health. For older high school athletes, the fear of not being recruited to a college could cause them to play through an injury. If the recruiter doesn’t see them play, they may look at it as a lost opportunity for their future in the sport.
We, The Roar, believe that honesty with yourself is the best way to solve this problem. Putting your health first is not only extremely important, but you will undoubtedly gain the respect of your teammates and coach for it. Although they may be upset at first, they will understand that it’s in yours and the team’s best interest to sit out. Even if it’s not a pivotal time in the season, you should still attend to injuries as they come.
Therefore, we believe that sitting out for your own good is the best choice you could make. Although your team is counting on you, it’s important to remember that it’s just a high school sport, and life will go on. And besides, if it’s a matter of whether you can play sports ever again, we think taking a couple months off is worth it.