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The View From The Bench

How injuries affect players both physically and mentally
Sullivan Ramirez
Conifer high schools physical therapy room where athletes come to get an injury checked out. “I sprained my ankle and I did a lot of rehab with CJ along with at my house, making sure I stayed off my ankle,” freshman Monica Zoldowski said.

Injuries can affect all types of athletes, regardless of what sport they play. Whether it is basketball, football or volleyball, every player is always at risk of getting hurt. While some injuries are rather insignificant and require minimal recovery time, others can have a huge effect on student-athletes.  

More than 3.5 million children ages 14 and younger get hurt annually playing sports or participating in recreational activities. An article from Stanford Medicine Children’s Health said. 

Penelope Dickinson is an active participant in Conifer High School sports, and other sports outside of her local area. She plays rugby, basketball, volleyball, and figure skates. During her basketball season this year, something unexpected happened. 

“I got a pretty bad injury in basketball and they thought it was my ACL or my meniscus. Turns out it was just a really bad hyper-extension, but I was out for two weeks. It really affected me,” Dickinson said.

Dickinson was injured in Conifer’s basketball game against Thornton when she was going for a layup and an opposing player ran into her, causing her leg to bend at an angle. Despite this, she played through the rest of the game and in part of the varsity game as well. Afterward, she then went to talk to Conifer’s athletic trainer, CJ Rosenborugh. 

“To recover I did lots of rehab with the athletic trainer and then I got x-rays and an MRI to make sure I was cleared to play,” Dickinson said.

She was unable to practice or play in games for two weeks while her injury healed, causing her to wonder whether or not she would be able to play her other sports. She was cleared recently and is now on track to participate in the rest of her season, and other upcoming seasons, too. 

Monica Zoldowski plays lacrosse, basketball, and volleyball for Conifer and sustained an ankle injury earlier in her season during one of her basketball games.

“It definitely affected my mental health because I wasn’t able to do my sport, and so I was bored and felt out of shape,” Zoldowski said. She was out for around two weeks, but is now cleared and able to participate. 

Isabel Allem is a Senior and plays volleyball for Conifer High School. Halfway through her season this year, she sustained a severe injury.

“I was going for a ball and I planted my foot and twisted and tore my ACL.” Allem has been playing volleyball since her freshman year. She has been unable to play sports in the last five months since her injury, and will not be able to play until her surgery, which is in four months. 

“I think it’s affected my mental health pretty horribly because I used to use volleyball as a way to escape and get out of my own head, and now I don’t have that,” Allem said. 

Allem was planning to continue her athletic career by playing volleyball throughout college and hopefully getting recognized by other teams, but her injury has majorly changed the course of her future. Allem is still optimistic about her sport and is doing as much as she can to recover quickly.

Athletes come to the Athletic trainer CJ, to make sure their injury doesn’t keep them out of sports for longer than necessary. “I was out for about two weeks because of an injury and did lots of rehab with the athletic trainer to make sure I could go back and play,” freshman Penelope Dickinson said.
(Sullivan Ramirez)

“I go to PT every week and I just started running again, so hopefully I’ll be able to go back to playing soon,” Allem said. Although this injury has majorly disrupted her upcoming plans, she is hoping that she can overcome the severity of her situation and get back out on the court as soon as possible. 

Freshman Sydney Pierce is another of Conifer’s student-athletes. She plays volleyball, club volleyball, and basketball. “I’ve had this injury all season, and I can play with it, but I have to do a lot of physical therapy before and after practices. On the weekends I try to get as much rest as possible because it makes it feel better,” Pierce said. 

She currently has fibularis tendonitis, which affects a tendon in her lower ankle. The injury arose from overuse, which is because, after two hours of basketball practice, Pierce goes straight to club volleyball and practices there for another hour and a half. 

“I’m usually pretty fast but right now it’s hard to put pressure on it and it hurts when I run,” Pierce said. 

Despite being injured, she is playing two sports at the moment and participates in every practice and game. To avoid injury, players can turn to things like chiropractic care, which helps with back pain and spine realignment, epsom salt baths, which help with soreness and muscle tension, and stretching, which helps prevent strains and tears. Talking to PT trainers and health experts about personalized care is also beneficial to individual athletes who are looking to stay safe during sports. 

“When I was injured, I was really down on myself. I didn’t know what I could do to help my team, and it was really hard to just sit on the bench and know that there was nothing I could do.” Dickinson said. 

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