How will injuries continue to impact athletes?


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Simone Biles pulled herself out of events at this years Tokyo olympics due to mental health concerns.

Crutches, braces, tape and more are just another accessory for athletes. These seem like odd accessories, however, they are very common to spot with an athlete at some point in their career. These accessories are a matter of when you will get them, not if you will. Injuries are inevitable as an athlete, the higher the competitive level the more likely you will get injured. The questions are when and how badly?

Simone Biles pulled out of the Olympics because she was suffering from an injury. We later found out she was not there mentally and for her safety she withdrew from the competition for her safety and to give her team a better chance. Injuries come in all forms and are not just purely physical. Being off your game mentally can be more harmful and dangerous than getting physically hurt from a tackle/hit/other. 

PGA golfer Tiger Woods suffered a double stress fracture in left tibia. NFL quarterback Peyton Manning underwent a spinal fusion surgery and multiple neck surgeries. NFL running back Adrian Peterson suffered from a torn ACL and MCL during a game against the Washington Football Team. Brian O’Driscoll, an Ireland rugby player was hit with a spear tackle causing such a severe dislocation that surgery was required to correct it. The type of tackle has been outlawed due to the injury and how severe it was.

This list is about a handful of professional athletes who have been hurt during their sports, which vastly vary on what they do in their sport. This is not even a fraction of the injuries endured by athletes around the world. These injuries took from 10 months to over a year to heal and recover from. Some were released from teams and picked up by others during their injury due to non-belief of them coming back to the sport.

However, these athletes got lucky being able to fully recover and go back to their sport. They will always have lasting side effects from the injuries: chronic migraines, joint pain, early onset arthritis and more. Some athletes are not so lucky.

Athletes like Olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson or McKayla Maroney, NHL defenseman Bobby Orr, the NBA’s Yao Ming, MLB pitcher Kerry Wood to name a few suffered from career ending injuries. The catch with being a top tier athlete is frequently it is not one injury that will end your career. It is a compilation of all the sustained injuries in their career. A study revealed between 14% and 32% of athletes are retired due to injury.

There are lasting effects with any injury itself let alone a compilation of multiple. Numerous are left paralyzed to some extent due to their injuries. Most athletes train, practice, and compete for most of their lives. They still attend school whether it be publicly or at home. Oftentimes they do school virtually or are homeschooled due to the rigorous training hours and competition schedules. However not all go on to college and go straight to the pros or Olympics.

When a career ending injury happens, what is left for the athlete when they lose the ability to play their sport? Their entire lives were centered around the sport and everything that went into it. Now they must find themselves and redefine who they are without the game.