The last thing an athlete wants to hear is that he or she can’t play because of an injury, especially if it will land them on the bench for the majority of a season.
Nick Roehm ’17, a long-time football player, has suffered numerous injuries, ranging from a concussion in eigth grade to torn cartilage in his knee in 10th, but never has he blamed the game.
“Every year I go out and try to make my body as strong as possible to keep playing the sport,” Roehm said.
Often these long-term injuries can affect an athlete beyond just a simple mending of a bone or healing of a tendon. The long-term psychological journey that the athlete undertakes is the most challenging. For an athlete, a sport can be a huge part of their life, and they can be left spinning if it is taken away.
“We love the game too much to give it up,” Roehm said.
Losing this aspect of their lives, athletes are often left reeling to recover their losses. A team and sport can provide many perks for an athlete, including a sense of identity, a role, a brother and or sisterhood, a structure and a form of stress relief.
Claire Meehan ’17 was injured playing soccer on June 24, 2013, and hasn’t been able to play since. She can remember the day vividly.
“It was really rough going from being a very active athlete to a sedentary one,” Meehan said. “I felt less invincible, and it reminded me that I can’t do everything, and I had limits.”
Much of the post-injury anxiety or stress can stem from a fear of reinjury long after the original injury has healed.
Justin Djuve ’17 knows this feeling all too well as a long time football player, having torn a ligament in his leg.
“I felt like my leg was exposed or, like, weaker than the other. I thought I was going to injure it again,” Djuve said.
However, these athletes don’t blame their injury on their sport. Instead, many choose to turn the events into a learning experience, even if they can no longer hit the field.
“I learned that even though you’re going to want to give up more than anything, you’ve just got to push,” Meehan said.