Barely three-quarters through the first semester, the number of student injuries is already staggering. Phrases like “broken bone,” “torn muscle,” “concussion,” “physical therapy” and “surgery” are casually tossed around like footballs.
According to Sherry Auerbach, a physical therapist by profession and mother of sophomore athlete Daniel Auerbach, there is risk in every sport, whether competitive or recreational.
“[Continuing to play] is up to the individual,” Auerbach said. “Some are better conditioned—maybe it’s your physiology, your genetics, your whatever—but everybody has to weigh it for themselves.
For several athletes the game is really worth the pain.
Since her sophomore year, senior Margueritte Aozasa has been injured playing soccer three times. She has broken her foot and has had several three-hour surgeries.
She’s had surgery once on her lateral meniscus, twice on her ACL and twice on her medial meniscus. In addition, the cartilage behind her kneecap was partially torn, and the doctors had to use her stem cells so that a protective cover would form where the cartilage once was. Margueritte had her second surgery in July, which she said cost more than $10,000.
She can now put weight on her leg and hopes to be playing soccer again in March and next year in college, where she will be attending Santa Clara University on a soccer scholarship. Despite several weeks of crutches and braces, a lot of physical therapy to strengthen her muscles, some “walking oddly” and several scars, Margueritte said that all of her injuries were “good times.”
After going through the summer without much exercise, freshman Alex Cala joined the JV field hockey team and pushed herself hard, saying that if she felt any pain, she would just “suck it up.” But the change was perhaps too drastic, and Alex dislocated her hips while running.
Though her hips were popped back in that same day, Alex was out of the game for two weeks. She “could barely even walk” and had to rest “a lot,” but was able to play a bit toward the end of the field hockey season.
Despite this, Alex said that she will definitely keep playing field hockey. It’s her first time playing a sport that she really enjoys, and she said that she was glad to experience both the pain and the game.
“The sport’s really cool,” Alex said. “There’s way worse injuries you can get. Even though I got hurt, it’s worth it in the experience.”
Sophomore Tim Vanneman, quarterback for the JV football team, sustained an injury during the Homecoming game this year. According to Tim, his tibula and fibula broke clean, Tim’s first “big injury.”
After the ambulance got onto the field, Tim was taken to the hospital for X-rays and subsequent surgery. The doctors inserted a titanium rod into Tim’s knee and put him in a hard cast. He also had to use a wheelchair for a couple of weeks.
Although the injury ended his football season and will probably restrict him from playing basketball, Tim said that the decision to keep playing despite injuries “depends on how much you like the sport” and that he “will probably keep playing” afterward.