By: Victoria R. Percherke
With spring varsity athletes returning to their game-play, some players who are injured are finding it hard to be excited about returning to the field and contributing to their teams comeback after last year’s cancellation. When freshman women’s lacrosse player and philosophy major, Lola Messick, first found out she needed another surgery, she couldn’t stand to be missing out on her first season on a collegiate team.
“I find that as long as I stay involved with the team I have the same schedule as I did when I was playing, and it really helps me feel normal. I think the best way we can take care of each other is just to remind each other how lucky we are each day to be there, and never forget how much it hurt when we weren’t able to,” says Messick.
According to Health U.S. News, “The more elite the athlete is, the more identity is … wrapped up in the athlete role…When [an athlete is] injured, it’s a more devastating blow to them because they’re losing something more valuable than a recreational athlete, who might just be doing it for weekend fun.”
Messick states that while it is difficult to have to sit on the sidelines, watching practice makes her go through positive emotions that help her push to continue in her physical therapies and stay healthy as she recovers.
While Messick is only missing out on her first year of varsity sports, some are dealing with a second season being taken away from their collegiate sports career.
Sidney Eisen, a sophomore baseball player and business major, was very excited to finally be able to play his sport after a disappointing freshman year facing quarantine. Now, another season is flashing fast before his eyes as he struggles with a season-breaker injury.
“I found out I partially tore my labrum a few weeks before our first game so I was definitely disappointed when they told me I’d miss this season,” says Eisen.
According to AtYourOwnRisk,“90 percent of athletes report a sports-related injury at some point in their career.”
“My story is a little different because this is my third ankle surgery in the last two years,” says Messick. Messick recalls missing her final playing years in high school,
“I missed my junior year of my field hockey season in order to be back for my senior year. But, that was obviously taken away with covid, then my second surgery happened this August.”
Messick had just recently had to get surgery after tearing her tendon at practice after just three weeks into the season.
According to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), injuries can affect athletes not just physically, but emotionally as well with some athletes becoming depressed as a result in time loss in their sport. For many athletes their sport is how they cope with problems that life throws at them. For these athletes, not being able to compete means finding totally new ways to get through those emotions in a healthy way.
“Being injured and having to miss a season is nothing that I’d wish upon anyone,” said Sarah Higbie, a freshman softball player. “It’s definitely changed how I look at the sport, before I was running the field from the mound and the game was in my hands. Having to sit out this season has taught me how to help the team in a different aspect than that I’m used to.”
From a recent study in the International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy (2014),
It is imperative for athletes not to rush back to their sport when recovering from an injury. Athletes that have been injured in the past are more likely to be injured again in the future.
As UMW athletes return to a normal sports schedule they will face weekly Covid-19 testing, and masks being worn at all times except when engaged in a competition.
“With everything up in the air this school year, now that we are playing, we can’t take any moment for granite,” Eisen concluded. “We are fired up!”
All spring sport games are being recorded for all fans who desire to watch at Team1Sports. As for the spring varsity sports schedule, it can be found on the UMW Athletic Department website at umweagles.com.
Patrick Brown contributed to reporting for this article.