Athletes fear injuries because then we cannot compete our best. They may be career ending, season ending, or may only require as little as a few days off. Whatever the case, is you never come back the same player you were before. You’ll hesitate or even step back to protect yourself, which is sometimes what gets us even more injured. As an athlete who’s been playing multiple sports for 15 years now, I have had my fair share of injuries. These injuries may have held me back, but they never have and never will stop me.
Every athlete knows deep down when they are truly injured. There is a difference between soreness, being bruised and a having a little bit of pain. Some never get passed the soreness and others play on, even when they know that the next day they might not be able to walk. I have experienced both and honestly, the feeling you get when you truly know you are injured is something that just grabs hold of you and does not let go.
Sports have made me the person I am today: a division III collegiate athlete with the back of an 87-year-old grandma. Like any athlete that has come back from an injury, is in the process of coming back, or has been taken out of the game for good, we know there are good days and bad days.
There are days where you feel like you are on top of the world and whatever you put your mind to you can achieve. But there are also days where it hurts to even try to get up out of bed and days where every single part of your body just aches with pain. It is that pain that makes us stronger: a stronger athlete and a stronger individual.
Whether it’s a minor or major injury, they happen. It is one of the things in sports that are almost expected. I can guarantee there is not one athlete that hasn’t had an injury in their sporting career. Every athlete will go through a time where they have to sit out due to an injury. However, I promise that you can and will get through it and come back stronger with determination and patience.
After a certain point, you get tired of feeling sorry for yourself. The negative mentality has to go. Your teammates may not know how you’re feeling or what you’re going through, but you have to learn to lean on them. If they’re anything like my teammates, they are going to be there for you no matter what.
The injury is a part of me and I now have to live with it. I fear that this injury will take me out of athletics a lot sooner than I’d like it to even though I am already on my last season.
Ice baths, pain medicines, heat and rest are basically my only remedies. It is a constant pain that cannot be ignored, but somehow I have learned to live with it. The difficult decision is deciding whether to let the pain continue and keep destroying what little I have left to keep my dream alive or hanging up my suit and shammy so I don’t need back surgery when I get older.
This is a decision where only time can tell what the outcome might be. Will I get to continue following my dreams with an age-old injury or will it turn the page on that chapter of my life?
Shelby Iava can be contacted at Siava@kscequinox.com