By Tasha Friedman
Athletes are not only experts in their sport, but also experts when it comes to ignoring injuries.
Athletes are stubborn and don’t always realize that playing on an injury not only makes things worse, but can increase the recovery time in which they must sit on the sidelines and watch their teammates.
There are multiple injuries that, when played on, can create a bigger problem for one who ignores the issue. For example, if an athlete gets hit on the head and has the concussion symptoms it is not smart to continue playing because of the risks.
The brain and brain stem can become severely damaged, which can result in a huge decrease of brain function, put one into a coma, or death. Concussions have become one of the biggest issues within the last few years.
This is why many coaches, univerisities, and athletic training programs are starting to implement a rule that when an athlete gets hit in the head they must undergo the concussion tests and come out of the game or practice right away.
Every athlete is guilty of ignoring any pain they have or headache. Having to be told that you have to sit out for even four weeks is similar to having the world end.
Dramatic as it sounds, it is very hard for someone who has a passion for a sport to be told they cannot play. They don’t want to be told that they have to take a break, whether it’s four weeks or up to one year.
There are athletes who have lost an entire season due to an injury and some athletes who have lost two. Many athletes who have struggled through an injury come out stronger and go through it with their head up high.
One thing to remember when you are told that you need to sit out due to an injury is to not only be patient but also to have a positive attitude and work hard. This is one of the hardest things for an athlete to remember.
Concussions are not the only injury that, when played with, can increase an athletes risk of getting even more injured. There are knee injuries that, when ignored, can create bigger problems, resulting in a torn ACL, MCL, or meniscus.
There are athletes that are diagnosed with Compartment Syndrome (injury in the calf muscles), which is extremely painful to play on and almost always results in surgery.
When, looking at a sport such as soccer, a sport where every movement is done with the legs, if a soccer athlete has an injury in the legs, whether it involves the knee, calf muscles, lower leg pain, ankle pain, foot pain, hip pain, etc., it is best not to ignore it.
The idea of having to say something is hard to do but it is in the best interest of the athlete to communicate with coaches, assistant coaches, and/or athletic trainers. Injuries are not worth ignoring; not only is the athlete hurting but putting an issue off on the side can hurt the team.
Sometimes staying in the game is best done by staying out of it for a little while.