High School Sports Injuries

 

When Sports Injuries in High School Affect the Rest of Your Life

When I was in high school I played football, linebacker and running back, and I felt it was the greatest thing in the world. I looked forward to the games each week, and I was even one of the odd kids that liked practice. I truly enjoyed the competition and the hitting, but all that came at a price, though I didn’t know at the time. I was doing irreparable harm to my body, especially my knees.

 

In my junior year, in the 3rd game I tore my medial collateral ligament in a play where someone blocked me low and from the side of my right knee. According to California Pacific Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, this is one of the most common injuries that football players receive (2015). In 1990, when this happened to me, there was very little outside of major surgery to repair this injury, which meant 9-12 months of recovery time. All for the football gods!

Now at age 42 I wake up every day and it takes me 15-20 to get my body going without pain. As a father of 3 boys who all played football as well, I have made them wear knee guards and be aware of positions which are harder on the knee joints. I would say to all parents of potential football players in high school, the boys will love and cherish their time playing with their friends and classmates, but know that this may come at a price in the long run. For me, the price was worth it, I loved every second of playing football and even played in a mens league until I was 39. If they love it, use as much protection as possible to avoid injuries, but encourage them to play!

 

References

Football Injuries. (2015). In California Pacific Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine. Retrieved June 22, 2015.

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6 Responses to High School Sports Injuries

  1. Dawn says:

    Christopher,

    Thank you for sharing a very personal story about how your high school football injuries still haunt you today. This is a very interesting marketing communication topic because there are so many layers of complexities to this. Children and young adults should be encouraged to play sports for college scholarships, enjoyment and overall physical wellness. However, as you state, there is a secret to all competitive sports – there is always a risk of long-lasting injury.

    How can the sporting industry communicate this to young athletes? What kind of integrated marketing communication campaign could be developed to better reach a young, impressionable audience hungry to make it to the big leagues? This current generation has the benefit to see the fairly recent NFL lawsuits stemming from concussions and physical ailments. Hopefully, young athletes understand the severity of injuries and take it upon themselves to take care of their bodies (Physical therapy, sleep, nutrition, hydration, stretching, etc).

    It would be great if Nike, Adidas or New Balance (for example) came up with a campaign to promote healthy habits for young athletes. Social media and discussion boards could give young athletes a place to go to ensure they are doing what they need to do to stay in the game longer, and avoid the bench.

  2. Steven says:

    Football injuries have really sparked the public debate about the consequences of participating in such a physical sport. I very much enjoyed playing football while growing up but was fortunate to escape with only minor scars and injuries. When one looks at the higher levels of competition, especially college and professional, it is easy to see why so many others do not escape with inconsequential injuries.

    It seems that every year the players get bigger and get faster. The technology of the protective equipment just cannot keep pace. This is especially troubling when it comes to head injuries. The NFL is reluctantly acknowledging the link between football injuries and long-term brain trauma complications. It’s quite a conundrum. Players go into the sport realizing that it can be dangerous, and, at higher levels, very likely to leave you with some degree of permanent injury/disability. That being said, it is an important part of our culture, and a fantastic game. For those lucky and talented few who actually play professionally, it can be very lucrative. I agree with the thoughts in your post that it is a wonderful game, and as long as parents and players are informed and take precautions, the risk just comes with the game…as with just about anything in life.

  3. Jessica says:

    Thanks for sharing your personal story, Christopher! I enjoyed watching football games after coming to America, but I grew up in a culture without football. Basketball was the most popular game for us when I was in high school. Watching NBA together was the biggest event for us. I was the biggest fan of Kobe Bryant among all of my friends. I started to collect his basketball shoes since middle school. There are still 22 different pairs of Zoom Kobe in my house. Kobe was my hero for a long time, so it really hurt me when he got injured couple years ago. I even stopped watching NBA. Though I’ve always paid attention to news about Lakers and Kobe Bryant, I couldn’t deny that Kobe wouldn’t win another championship. He is aging, and he had too many injuries during his career, and he never really had a complete surgery that could help him recover. So I guess it’s his time to pay some price. This really ended my passion for basketball. He was once my spiritual leader. I felt he could give me the strength to overcome many of my problems.

    I am not the only one who stopped loving this game while my favorite star is going down. Many of my friends were big fans of Allen Iverson, Yao Ming, Gannet, Vincent Carter and many other marvels who lost their careers because of their injuries. They were so talented and wonderful. They were like the most important people in our life for a long time. When they are gone, part of us has gone too.

    With all the technology and protective equipments, I feel that athletes are getting better protection, which means they can have a longer careers. It must be better to see your favorite athlete growing old with all the glory than sitting on the bench painfully. I hope my kid can have the chance to love a sport, or a just single person for a longer time.

  4. Anthony says:

    Hello Christopher,

    Anytime I can comment on a sports related topic, I will always take that opportunity, and especially with such an important topic that often times isn’t communicated in the appropriate channels until it is to late. Like yourself, I was heavily involved in sports in high school, not football, but baseball, basketball, track, and cross country.

    Proper protocol in learning how to avoid common injuries was never really communicated often, even as far back as 7 years ago when I was still competing. This is an extremely important function of appropriate information and communication that should be relayed early and often.

    Had I learned through instruction, with helpful context at my fingertips, I could have avoided some preventable injuries that I experienced, ultimately causing me to never be able to pitch again. Sustaining muscular damage to my rotator cuff destroyed my baseball career and could have been avoided.

    You bring up this prevalent issue that is often overlooked at young ages and even in the collegiate and professional levels is something that deserves more attention. I have found through personal experience, that many parents these days are so manipulated by all the injuries they see on television and through personal experience that they don’t let their children take up these activities. There must be a greater effort to not only educate parents, but the children to on proper preventive action in avoiding common injuries, and steps to take in resting the body that can lead to a healthy lifestyle later on in life.

  5. Jason Williams says:

    Hey Chris, I agree with you. I also played sports all my life up to college. Football was the one I loved the most and as a WR and SS, I took as many hits as I dished out. Funny thing is, during my military career, I continued to push my body in many areas which did even more damage. Like you pointed out, between my back, hip and knees… it takes me a while to get going in the morning. I also cannot workout like I used to, or even do all exercises. I have to pick and choose so I don’t aggravate anything to the point where I can’t walk. It’s hell getting old isn’t it?

    Much like you, I would do it all again in a minute. I get out with my daughter and her friends quite often and run around playing soccer or basketball. Sometimes I feel young until I run or jump a bit and then I feel all these little pains and discomforts.

    I think now a days, just about anyone has knowledge of concussions and potential health issues surrounding football and other sports. However, with the relationships that are built and fun that is being had playing sports, I don’t think it matters. Kids will want to play regardless of the potential risks. Let’s face it, you can be injured worse driving down the street, which we do everyday.

  6. Eric says:

    Hi Chris,

    Thanks for sharing your story with us. Although football has led you to have some knee pain, I’m glad to hear that you feel your time playing on the field was worth it. I feel that a lot of us do things while we’re younger that might catch up with us later, but the main thing at the end of the day is that we had the experience of a lifetime with no regrets.

    Your post does a great job explaining something that I believe isn’t communicated enough to our children – school sports. Luckily with your sons, you were able to give them pointers and require them to wear knee guards to prevent them from running into problems in the future. However, many parents can’t say they have same first hand experience and usually the first time they realize how dangerous these sports are is when they receive a call from the school or the emergency room explaining that they have a sports related injury. Therefore, the school needs to take proactive measures to communicate the risks of sports to students and parents at the beginning of the semester as well as do continuous reminders on the risks of these sports while providing tips to playing safer and better. Such communication would not only help to keep students safe, but also help the school should any parents ever choose to sue as a result of a sports related injury of their son or daughter.