Sports Injuries: How much is too much?

Serious sports injuries have become the norm in athletics starting as early as middle school. It used to be that one only saw pro and college athletes tear ACLs and miss entire seasons due to injuries, but now it’s just as common to see injuries requiring reconstructive surgery in high school sports. This disturbing phenomenon brings a couple questions to mind: Why are these injuries becoming common, and who’s to blame for these injuries?
Is it the athletes’ fault for not properly taking care of their bodies? Do the athletes have an unhealthy diet? Or is it coach’s fault for not teaching proper technique? Or is it just because today’s athletes are getting bigger, stronger and faster? “I think the best way to try and prevent injuries — especially in contact sports — is for coaches to preach to their players the importance of playing the game right way and not playing dirty,” senior football player Hayden Shea said.
Late in the semifinal round game against Cedar Rapids Xavier, Shea was taken to the ground and sustained a torn MCL. Shea is not the only player to sustain a substantial lower body injury. Teammates Randolph Bryan, Rayce Willett, Rylee Willett, Riley Gardner and Brandon Corkery have all also had surgically repaired knees/ankles in the last 18 months.

The injuries that players like these have had aren’t “rub some dirt on it” injuries. They’re very serious injuries with the capability to put athletes out of actions for month. Rayce, who suffered a torn ACL early this football season, is no stranger to going under the knife. Last year he tore the ACL on his opposite knee at a Nebraska football camp preparing for the upcoming season.

A 2011 study conducted by the Boston Children’s Hospital concluded that in contact high school sports, concussions were responsible for 15 percent of all injuries. But hey, sports aren’t for the weak. Man up and play through the pain, right? Wrong. Failing to allow the injuries to be properly assessed or rushing to get back to game-ready can have serious consequences. In some cases the more serious injuries can even lead to death.
Medical advances are being made to try and prevent sports injuries, however. Every year new technology can be found in the newest line of products. Most notably being football helmets in their efforts to reduce concussions. But 19 perdent of all high school football players have suffered a concussion at one time. Multiple concussions can lead to Chronic Traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). CTE can lead to severe depression and suicide in older athletes. Former NFL linebacker Junior Seau, who took his own life in May, may have had CTE as a result of his

Seau was 43 years old at the time of his death.

The University of Pittsburgh’s Department of Neurological Surgery has released a report. In 1984, two doctors studying sports injuries reported that a 19-year-old college football player who had received a second concussion while still recovering from the original concussion had died and coined the term “second-impact syndrome” (SIS). Since then, at least 26 deaths have been attributed to SIS, 20 of them occurring in the past 10 years.

Shea said that athletes understand the risks they’re taking when they decide to go out for a sport. “I don’t think anybody wants to believe it, but in the back of everybody’s head they know that there’s the possibility that they could be seriously injured. It’s all a part of competitive sports,” Shea said. “Injuries aren’t something that’s just going to go away.”

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