Is rushing an injury worth all the risks?
By Ethan Vlchek
You’ve waited all year for this moment. It’s your shot to be on varsity, to play with the big boys and girls. You step out knowing that this is your time to shine. In the first few minutes a pop in your knee causes some doubt, but it’s just a tweak in your knee. It’s nothing, and you play through it. Then, another pop in your knee is followed by an excruciating pain with agony. Worst of all, you’re only two minutes away from winning the big game and finally being the player who earned their spot on varsity. Despite the pain, you keep trying, but the coach sees you’re hurt and instead of letting you win the game, he pulls you at the last second. Two weeks, six X-Rays, and an MRI later, it’s official, no more playing for you. A torn ACL, and all you think about while the doctor plans for surgery is if you can come back or not before the season ends. Sure enough, you can’t, but despite doctor’s orders you return the wounded hero, because the team needs you. The Coliseum Crazies love you, and the fruits of your labor come your way. But the next year, same thing happens just before your triumphant return. A pop that to anyone else would have been a simple tweak is a career killer. The pain surges back with a vengeance from last year and even the smallest amount of weight is misery to you. This is your last year, your last chance to make a mark and show everyone what you can do, and you will not be stopped. At least until the doctor says that you won’t play this year, and you may not play again because of what happened last time. Doctor says that rushing it may have taken away your ability to play again. Now all that work, the pain, the suffering, the constant work put in to maybe be something in the history of Legend is wasted. Now was rushing that injury really worth losing your shot to be something other than another picture in the yearbook?
Many idols of athletic prowess received their notoriety because they played through an injury. People such as Jon Jones(UFC), John Elway(NFL), and Hope Solo(Soccer)are a select group of people who actually played through substantial injury that would make most stop. Professional athletes like Jones, Elway, and Solo are immortalized by their teammates and fans for being tough because they played through injury, all because the team needed them.
“If that [athlete] has a sense of commitment to their team and a sense of brotherhood and not wanting to let their brothers down, then they are more apt to rush their rehab to get back to playing their sport,” football coach Shane King said.
Players on the professional level are seen doing it all the time. Floyd Mayweather(Boxing) continued to fight Manny Pacquiao with a fractured pinky which to a boxer is reason to delay or even cancel a fight. Given the circumstances, many other athletes in his position would have insisted on not playing. Despite the warnings from
not only his trainer but also his sponsors, he decided to fight Pacquiao and left victorious. The mentality of playing through pain and risk of further injury is not only for the professional teams. It also lives in the cultures of the Legend sports programs as well. People such as sophomore Micah Strahan, who suffered a slight meniscus tear, wanted to put themselves in harm’s way to help their team.
“I saw myself as a leader to the team and I was looking forward to leading us into the state championship. I would have risked tearing it worse if it meant I could have competed.”
While Strahan’s determination was a boost in morale to the team, coach Nick Rider instead decided to think about Strahan’s future instead of the present. Despite Strahan’s clear discontent, he was pulled from the Legend Wrestling regional roster and not able to compete for a state championship title.
The mentality taken by many people in the situation of an injury usually stems to one of three branches: A) they rush their rehab and throw caution to the wind to get out and play again, B) they use their injury as an excuse to not partake in certain activities, or C) intelligent athletes make the conscious decision to rehabilitate their injury to where they will be able to be a benefit to the team and not a detriment to themselves.