Feeling the Pressure – Increase in Injuries Due to Overuse in Sports Related Activities

In the United States, roughly 2 million high schoolers are affected by sport related injuries per year. Approximately fifty percent of sport related injuries in high school students are a result of overuse, in addition most of these athletes also suffer from non-physical setbacks, including loss of sleep and rest time. Furthermore, many high school athletes are in the midst of juggling multiple teams at the same time, which increases the risks of serious injuries overtime. Here at Cape Henry, most varsity sport athletes are also playing for another team either during or after their high school season.

The boys varsity soccer team at CHC has roughly 18 out of 24 players who all play competitively for club as well as school. Both the girls varsity field hockey team and volleyball  have 3, boys varsity basketball has 7, and boys lacrosse has 14. Players on varsity soccer and field hockey are more directly affected due to their club season overlapping on their high school season, which means many players are doubling up on practices each day. According to several players, they are all struggling physically, mentally, and emotionally in the classroom and on the field.

According to Nathaniel Thomas (‘18), who is a part of the boys varsity soccer team, “Playing club and school sports simultaneously is not worth it. The quality of play seems to decline and injuries do not resolve.” He also stated that he along with others all feel severe pressure from coaches on both teams to perform well without them understanding their personal needs and issues. For weeks, Thomas has been suffering from a strained calf and sprained ankle and cannot find time to adequately rest in his busy schedule. Cape Henry’s George Selamaj (19’), also struggles with balancing teams and his own well being. He stated, “I’m not eating as healthy anymore and I’m very stressed out.” He is also suffering shin splints and lack of sleep. Alexandra Land (‘19) of varsity girls field hockey is also dealing with a two team schedule and has common troubles just like the others. She says that, “Doubling up especially hurts me since I’m playing for two hours during each practice.” She also says that not only is it becoming overwhelming but also she has suffered from severe shin splints, which are likely caused by overuse.

The athletes who have to double up each day are facing 4-5 hours of practice each day, some being 5 days a week. This does not account for the games players have in the middle of the week or on weekends. These intense practices and games leave athletes exerting many parts of their bodies, resulting in stress fractures, shin splints, restlessness, loss of sleep, and dietary problems.

Not only are the athletes facing physical problems, but also mental and emotional instability as well. A lot of these athletes are not just competing on the field, but also in the classroom. Many of them are taking difficult honors and AP courses, which makes it difficult to manage the life of an athlete and scholar. Many Cape Henry student athletes are giving up important things like sleep, appropriate eating times, and down time in order to maintain their busy lives. Some student athletes even have to skip practices in order to either catch up in school or just give their bodies a break.

Living this type of lifestyle can have a major impact on your body and student athletes need to understand how to manage what they are given. No matter what you do or who you have to report to, always remember that your well being and health always come first.