By Nick Nunn, Columnist
Except for the intense zealousness, that fervor for success, which typically accompanies high school sports, you could almost say that high school athletics is only all fun and games.
However, taking that view would mean ignoring a very real part of any level of sports: injuries. Despite coaches and athletes taking the best precautions, injuries are going to happen in any contact sports.
Just this past week, Clayton Bearden suffered a broken arm as the result of a wrestling match. I didn’t personally see the incident, so I can’t say whether or not there were any questionable motions that lead to the broken arm, but the possibility for harm or damage being done during a sporting event just has to be accepted as a reality.
The sports themselves are not necessarily to be blamed. I’ve witnessed injuries occur in just about each sport that I’ve covered as a part of this job. Two weeks ago, a female Hart County basketball player had her kneecap pushed out of place during a varsity game.
Again, the injury wasn’t anyone’s fault, it’s just the inevitable consequence of sending two bodies toward each other. Batters get hit by pitches, pitchers get hit by batted balls, football players get concussions and cramps, soccer players are vicious, and boxers…
Well, boxing is pummeling your opponent with your fist until one of you stops. And the action doesn’t have to be that competitive for injury to occur. Just the other week, my girlfriend, Alayna, and I were playing a game of one-on-one – very inept one-on-one I might add – and we both came out of the ordeal with bruises from our attempts to move the other out of the way.
Fortunately, most sport-related injuries have temporary effects, which fade in a relatively short amount of time, but sports can also effect issues that plague the former athlete throughout the rest of their life.
For example, my father still complains about one of his knees hurting from a football injury that he incurred well over 30 years ago. Of course, we’ve also heard the horror stories of young athletes dying right on the field as a result of injury or overheating, but those are far from being common.
The more one begins to research into the injuries, illnesses and diseases that can stem from athletics, the more one begins to realize just how dangerous sports can be.
In addition to contact injuries, athletes can suffer heat illnesses, electrolyte loss, impaired development, and, sometimes, mental disorders. The sheer amount of research on the effects of multiple concussions on the brain is overwhelming and the subsequent effects can be quite frightening.
All of that being said, it is certainly a reassurance that modern-day coaches are often well-versed in sports medicine and are able to spot and deal with athletes’ physical issues before they become real problems. Morgan County High School’s Athletic Trainer Dennis Sitzmann is also an invaluable resource for the safety and well-being of athletes as well.
For non-athletes, as well. When I was still at MCHS, I saw Sitzmann once because of wrist pains that I thought were due to my guitar playing. So, while you are cheering for the team on the sideline, remember that they aren’t just putting their efforts out there on the line, they’re also risking their bodies for the good of the team.