A team is much like a puzzle, all the individual parts must come together to make the picture whole.

Without these individual parts, a team can suffer significantly in games and throughout the season.

When a player is injured, the obvious effect goes directly to the individual, but how is the team effected?

Facing an individual injury is hard enough.

Oftentimes athletes are restricted from participating in a sport they love and have to go through strenuous physical therapy that can last for months at a time.

The recovery period can vary per injury and, with athletic seasons going by so quickly, an athlete can miss the entire season altogether.

Braeden Huot, a first-year student and men’s swim and dive team member, faced a shoulder-related injury that caused him to have multiple physical therapy sessions and extensive training sessions with Keene State College swim and dive coaches.

“I’ve had a shoulder injury, but that fully recovered in the early stretch of the season,”  Huot said.

Although Huot recovered before the season got into full swim, the injury required Huot to participate in physical therapy sessions and undergo exercises with coaches in order to strengthen his shoulder.

Huot said the KSC coaches were extremely helpful in his recovery process and helped with adjusting his stroke technique in order to create muscle and joint strength while Huot practiced in the pool.

“Individual injuries affect everyone because we all want to see each other succeed. The team doesn’t feel whole when a team member is unable to swim,” Huot said.

Huot added that an individual injury affects the mental state of the team during training and can also lose key points that the team would have had in the meet, whenever a swimmer is unable to compete.

“You can tell even if you are usually at the opposite end of the pool when training that someone is missing,” Huot said.

The most common types of athletic injuries are strains and sprains.

Strains are injuries to muscles, fibers, or tendons, which anchor muscles to bones.

While sprains are injuries to ligaments, which are the tough bands connecting bones to a joint.

Oftentimes athletes can have shoulder problems, knee (dislocation or ACL tears) problems, ankle sprains, shin splints, hamstring pulls and groin pulls.

All of these injuries are significantly painful and can create lasting issues.

Without effective treatment, these injuries can turn into permanent issues.

Caroline Morgan, a first-year student and member of the women’s swim and dive team, recovered from a knee injury early on in the season.

Morgan said that the team was very supportive and that the KSC coaches helped her every single day with her stroke technique and strength exercises.

“My coaches have designed a specific exercise for me that helps me adjust my stroke in order to correct my form,” Morgan said.

Individual injuries are especially hard to deal with, Morgan added.

She said it hurts the team because everyone builds off of everyone else.

“Without everyone giving their best performance, the dynamics of the team change,” Morgan said.

Injuries occur in each and every sport, each and every season.

Injuries take away from potential points, skills and mindsets from a team.

This also applied to sophomore and men’s swim and dive member Kyle Shadeck.

Shadeck had a major shoulder injury where he had weak scapular and rotator cuff muscles.

Shadeck had to undergo three months of physical therapy where he had to swim using only his legs. The struggle of physical therapy and the injury itself set him back in the beginning of the season.

“I had to work really hard all season to get where I wanted to be. My coaches have helped me a lot and teammates cheer me on every meet,” Shadeck said.

Individual injuries affect the whole team because the team can lose momentum and suffer mentally due to not having everyone on board, Shadeck said.

Individual injuries can greatly affect individual athletes as well as the whole team, making it difficult to perform at their highest level.

Caroline Perry can be contacted at cperry@kscequinox.com