Athletes must take risks at the expense of injury

Alyssa Alvarez, Sports Editor

Pop. It’s the sound that athletes fear every time they step on the field or court.

We have heard so many stories about athletes like Derrick Rose and Tom Brady tearing an Anterior Cruciate Ligament and being taken away from the sport they love for surgery and months of rehabilitation. Their seasons abruptly end and any future in the sport hangs in jeopardy.

About 200,000 ACL injuries occur in the United States annually, and women are at much higher risk than men, according to Health Research Funding.

So many of my teammates and friends have had knee surgeries due to freak accidents on the soccer field — even just casual shootarounds with family members — that these incidents cause me to ponder the question, “Am I next?”

I worry that I am going to land awkwardly on a layup or take a step in the wrong direction. Stories of people so close to me have had me beginning to consider playing differently, more cautiously.

Any type of knee injury is serious, but every athlete should give her maximum effort in every drill she does and every game she plays despite the danger of being injured.

Instead of being scared of injury, strengthening legs and thighs and taking precautions such as stretching before activity can give ligaments in the knee more support, according to Hospital for Special Surgery.

Practicing change of direction and balance can prevent injuries and give athletes confidence in their movements during games or practices.

The thought of losing the sport that I have worked so hard at and play everyday frightens me, but also makes me grateful for the opportunity to play the sport I love.

As athletes, we sometimes take for granted our abilities to run, jump and score because it comes so naturally to us. We have to prepare for injury, not be scared of it.