As fall athletics are finally settled in, many teams are continuing to see changes. From volleyball to football, players on all teams are getting injured at a high rate. This is not only affecting the hurt players directly but their whole team as well.
“I got injured in the second football game of the year,” Jarin Sanders, junior, said. “I did a spin move, somebody cracked me and I got a concussion.”
Sanders has been playing football since 2nd grade and he experienced his fourth concussion this year.
“As you know, concussions aren’t good for the brain. So, if I have too many concussions it can cause long-term damage,” Sanders said.
Before being released back onto the field, Sanders had to complete concussion protocol. This protocol was overseen by Shawnee Heights’ athletic trainer Todd Gaddis.
“Once an athlete suffers a head injury they are required to obtain a release from a Medical Doctor or a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine. They are then recommended to complete a graduated return to play protocol before returning to competition,” Gaddis said.
Returning to play gradually does not just apply to concussions and football. All injuries should be closely monitored and healed before continuing any sport. This statement applies directly to Kali Henry, a junior defensive specialist, who recently injured her ankle during a volleyball match.
“I have been missing out on a lot of playing opportunities, as well as not being able to grow closer with my teammates,” Henry said. “This injury is only one thing that has set us back but we are overcoming it just like we are with everything else going on in our world today.”
Henry missed out on what she had been looking forward to most all season, getting to play Seaman High School. Though her school season was cut short, Henry will be playing with her club team this winter as she does annually.
“I am hoping that my ankle injury will not affect my future club season, just because I am going to focus on wrapping my ankle and being more aware of my surroundings even though this injury necessarily wasn’t my fault,” Henry said.
Henry has felt supported by each and every one of her teammates. Having a support system is very important when it comes to school athletics, no matter where you are at athletically.
“Coach Swift told me that he supports me if I play another football game ever again or not,” Sanders said.
With high school events and experiences getting taken away, playing a sport this year is many students’ only thing to look forward to. This can cause players to either go back to playing as soon as possible or ignore their injury completely.
“It’s very important that the athlete be honest with myself, the coaching staff, and their parents regarding their symptoms that they may be experiencing after a head injury,” Gaddis said. “Athletes that go back before their head is healed risk suffering a more severe injury than before.”
After overcoming his injury this fall and being approved to play again, Sanders returned to the field. As a running back and defensive back, he has the possibility of seeing a lot of contact during games.
“I’m not nervous because I am a dawg,” Sanders said. “I’m back now.”