Play hurt, pain later

By Thomas Garcia: Quay County Sun

Mend now and you’ll probably play later.

High school students who participate in athletics may experience a sports-related injury in one of their four years before they graduate.

However, playing through the pain, and not recognizing how imporant it is to fully heal, may not equal any gains later, said sports management pesonnel.

Rattlers Senior Drew White is one athlete to experience such an injury. White tore two ligaments in his ankle during a summer football camp. In July, White had corrective surgery and went through physical therapy in hopes of being back by the second game of the football season.

However, White had a setback when his ankle developed a staph infection. In late August, he had to have a second operation to remove the infected tissue that was not healing with the antibiotics for the healing to be complete and once again had to undergo physical therapy.

“We told him that he needed to be completely healed before even thinking of playing,” said White’s mother, Ellen White. “We knew how much playing football his senior year meant to him and he was devastated having to miss out on more weeks. But we stressed if he didn’t take care of the injury now, he might not play sports at all this year.”

White’s had some experience with this scenario, she said.

“We know firsthand how an injury can lead to the loss of opportunities. Our daughter Dana (White) Benavidas, tore her ACL during her senior year playing basketball. She received a scholarship to play basketball at Western New Mexico University in Silver City. During the North Vs South All-star game the following year she tore the ACL in her other knee. She went to college and played for awhile but felt she was unable to keep up with the requirements and pace needed to play college basketball and decided to give up the scholarship.”

Eastern New Mexico University Athletic Director Mike Maguire, said, “There has been an increase of new students that enroll wanting to play sports that have a pre-existing injury from high school. Every new athlete will see the doctor and during the physical we will find if they have a injury that needs to be further addressed before they play.”

Ed Kabrick, ENMU’s athletic trainer, has dealt with sports injuries at work and at home. His daughter, Megan, tore her ACL during her sophomore basketball season. She is now on the roster for the Zia basketball team.

“Some of the injuries we see are minor and need nothing more than some rehabilitation,” Kabrick said. “But some injuries are in need of surgery and proper time off in order to be fully healed and corrected. We stress to the students how important it is to tell us about an injury when it happens. Some athletes will work through the pain and don’t realize if they fail to correct the injury now it may come back to affect them later in life.”