High spirits, adrenaline pumping, and the thought of yet another competitive season for Keene State College athletic teams are what keep talented athletes on their toes each year. However, what happens when players become severely injured? Do they keep pushing through it or decide that maybe their bodies need to take a break?
With the amount of injuries seen so far this year, it is difficult to believe that athletes aren’t going above and beyond to strive for the best.
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An athlete will naturally go to any attainable level to be able to compete and succeed, so the question lies, are these injuries occurring by chance, or is it that “extra push” that leads to a pit fall?
KSC Athletic Training Director Robert Merrow explained that in athletics, injuries will always happen and that the best thing an athlete can try to do is prevent them any way possible.
He said, “Injuries happen. It’s not a part of the sport that we want to have happen, but injuries happen in athletics, and although there are predisposing factors within the athletes that may predispose them for injuries, we try to do everything we can do to prevent them.”
Merrow also stressed that coaches and trainers have specific tactics and regimen designed to help prevent injuries. “There are several strength and conditioning programs that athletes are required to keep up with, as well as coaches utilizing their coaching styles, techniques, knowledge of the game and then practices are also set up to provide for proper conditioning and skill acquisition, which can help minimize the injuries,” he said.
Head Volleyball Coach Bob Weiner, took a similar view, and added that “an injury can occur at any point, but there is always a concern that coaches are asking too much from their athletes, or pushing them too hard to the point of injury.” He also mentioned that most coaches understand that there is a fine balance, and that they won’t work their athletes to a point where they are unable to carry out their goals for the season.
When a few recently injured athletes were confronted on the matter, they each came to the conclusion that an injury can either be a result of the athlete’s persistence or pure accident, which seemed to be the case for some of their situations.
Senior women’s soccer player Joan Hamel recently suffered an ACL tear mid-season.
Hamel said that her injury happened during a game and was entirely unavoidable. “It’s not like I tore my ACL because I was working my hardest, I work my hardest all the time, it just happens to be that that day something happened and I stepped in the wrong place at the wrong time,” she explained.
Likewise, two junior women’s basketball athletes had similar situations occur before their season even started, resulting in an ACL injury in the off-season, and an ankle sprain during pre-season.
“I feel like most of the injuries come in the off-season, so it’s the players pushing themselves too hard,” junior Vicky Vitale said. She tore her ACL this summer at a basketball camp.
“I also feel like we were in the best shape we could have been in, but at the same time, we were pushing ourselves maybe past that limit and not thinking to rest,” junior Forward Carly Kiernan added.
Whatever the reason, KSC does very well in preventing and monitoring injured athletes, and will hopefully have these upperclassmen back up on their feet in no time.
“The best thing you can do is to keep yourself in check, and focus on the little things that get taken for granted,” junior Carly Kiernan said.
Athletes continue to play the game, whether injured or not. But they are surely feeling the pain.
Lyndsay Krisel can be contacted