Students discuss different injuries they have received through sports
There are about 1.35 million children receiving sports related injuries a year from common sports such as basketball, football and soccer; it has been shown most injuries related to the body affect a person’s head, fingers, ankles, face and knees, according to usatoday.com.
For senior Shelby Matchette, it all started in eighth grade when she first dislocated her kneecap at track and field practice. Since then, she has dislocated her kneecap two other times. Matchette said she was involved in swimming her freshman year, boys swim management and band up until last year when she was still having knee problems. She said she then decided to go through with an extensive knee surgery where part of her tibia was cut off and realigned the summer before her junior year.
“Post-surgery, [the doctor] ended up doing my surgery wrong and I ended up getting a rare type of chronic pain, so I couldn’t walk for about seven months after my surgery,” Matchette said. “I ended up having 11 spinal injections to ease some of the pain, [and] then I was diagnosed with this chronic pain.”
Matchette said she was diagnosed with a rare type of chronic pain called Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS). According to mayoclinic.org, CRPS is a nerve damage that causes the signal that connects her nerves to her spinal cord to her brain to release signals of pain, swelling and heat changes.
Matchette said she is currently recovering by doing post-surgery physical therapy six hours a week for seven days and all together has been in physical therapy for the last three years due to her other injuries. Since there is no cure for CRPS, she said she has to watch out for the certain restrictions she has.
“I think everybody knows the risk of going into a sport,” Matchette said. “You see all of these professional athletes getting hurt all of the time [and] you don’t think it’s going to happen to you, but it’s a common thing. Girls especially, our hips are so wide that our knees aren’t aligned, and all of these coaches don’t do exercises to strengthen their knees, so you’ll find dislocations in the knees [are] really common.”
Matchette said if she wasn’t diagnosed with CRPS, then she would still be involved in the activities she used to do. Additionally, Matchette said her chronic pain has “limited [her] quite a bit” to where she can’t play sports anymore. However, she’s “progressed significantly over the summer, with physical therapy and breathing exercises,” which have helped her to regain her walking ability.
There are about 150,000 ACL injuries that occur in the U.S. every year. Of those 150,000 injuries, about 70 percent of ACL injuries in athletes occur due to awkward landings, pivoting, sidestepping and more, according to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. Sophomore Peyton Moore said she had been involved in soccer for as long as she could remember, up until she recently injured her leg during a game.
“I was playing soccer [when] I jumped up and I came down on it, and my knee just twisted and popped,” Moore said.
She ended up tearing her ACL and partially tearing her meniscus. Moore said this injury has had a lot of impact on her because she is now unable to play soccer and can’t partake in some activities with her friends. As a part of her healing process, Moore had to have surgery on her leg to repair the torn muscles.
“I think [this injury] is kind of annoying, kind of a bummer,” Moore said. “I think I have four to five more months [to heal]. I do physical therapy and, at home, I do home exercises.”
From all of her time playing soccer Moore said she’s had a few other sprains and injuries but didn’t realize how easy it is to hurt yourself.
“I always think [getting hurt is] definitely going to be a factor whenever you’re playing a sport,” Moore said. “I know, when I go back to playing soccer, that I’m definitely not going to take anything for granted and I know that it’s definitely going to be a possibility for [something like this] to happen again.”
Moore said anger and aggressive playing methods can increase your chances of an injury, along with being involved in contact sports. However, she said she believes there are ways to help decrease the chances of someone getting injured while playing out there on the field.
“I definitely think there are exercises you can do that can strengthen certain parts of your body,” Moore said. “I know, for soccer, there’s a lot of choppy movements, so my coach was always really strict on doing knee workouts.”
While she said she is currently doing physical therapy to strengthen her leg back up, Moore said she hopes she will be cleared soon to play for the school in the spring.
Junior and varsity football player Eli Dickerson recently tore his ACL in a football game vs. Blue Valley High. Dickerson said he was trying to plant his outside leg when his knee shot out and he heard a couple of pops.
“At the time [it happened], [there] was a lot of pain and a lot of tears, just knowing that it was one of [those] things that [the] moment it happened, I knew it wasn’t [going to be] good,” Dickerson said. “I just kind of was in a lot of shock and experiencing a lot of sadness, and it was kind of overwhelming that I’m not capable of contributing anymore.”
He said he is currently doing physical therapy to strengthen up the ligaments around his knee and will receive surgery on his leg to replace part of his ACL with his hamstring. Dickerson said it’s best to play within yourself and not get angry or upset about the game, that’s what happened to him he said, and it created an affect on his goals for the remainder of the season.
“[My] injury is a minor setback, but it’s something that really upsets me, because of what I really wanted to do the rest of the season,” Dickerson said. “[My goal was to] make a state run and then, going into my basketball season, I really wanted to play. So, because of the injury, I’ve got to sit out for quite a long time.”
Dickerson said he has had a few broken bones before but nothing impacting his legs, although knew he knew there was a potential for it to happen, whether it’s expected or not.
“I don’t think everyone expects to receive an injury, but everyone [has the] potential for getting injured,” Dickerson said. “Whether it’s a minor injury or something major, it’s not expected, but if it happens, it happens. One [of the things] that I think I should have taken better care of is stretching and being really loose before the game; it [helps] prevent any pulls [and] tears.”
Additionally, he said athletes tend to have a mentality of pushing themselves when playing any sport, especially when they see a possible injury happening.
“I think it’s just a high level of mental toughness and mental grit, just wanting to push yourself as hard as you can through the injury because football is what we do, what we’ve tried to do and love to do,” Dickerson said. “No one wants to be taken out of the sport they love or anything they love just because of an injury.”