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Written by Rachel Kahng | Published. 2018.03.30 18:56 | Count : 393
The life of a student-athlete is full of inevitable situations. Some, advantageous, such as the relationships formed with fellow teammates. Others, adverse, such as the challenge of balancing training sessions with academics. Plenty of today’s young athletes are burdened with
the responsibilities that bear the goal of success. However, these motives tend to leave no room for error. Apart from the enormous time commitments, fatigue, and potential rewards, most student-athletes have a single prominent fear that is impossible to foresee: injury.
[Student athletes fear injury as it means they will be benched, photo by Rachel Kahng]
By definition, an injury is the effect of physical harm or damage done to someone’s body. Yet, for those whose high school careers are centered around maintaining physique, an injury could mean much more. In addition to physical pain, devastation, anger, and stress all play a role in the emotional roller coaster of being injured. “I had been really looking forward to the season” emphasizes Colin Kim, who suffered from a broken foot during the soccer season of his sophomore year. “Sometimes I would go home and be really upset,” Colin continues, indicating the overwhelming desire to train at practice with the rest of his team.

For many athletes, the mental hardship is the real impediment. Although injured athletes concentrate largely on physical recovery, the frustration of not being able to train generates an even more grueling rehabilitation process. “I would go to as many games as I could to show my support for the team when I couldn’t be supporting them on the field” explains Colin.

Similarly, left wing Jinnie Yoo was sidelined last season as a junior after being imprudently tackled by two opposing players during the team’s first official game. A torn ACL* meant weeks at the hospital and arduous surgery and rehab. “Initially, I had a very emotional response, but later I was very rational about it,” remarks Jinnie. “Being emotional about it isn’t going to make anything better.” Despite the highs and lows, athletes shouldn't let their emotions get to the best of them, or a long and tedious road to recovery awaits. Furthermore, Jinnie did not let her physical limitations interfere with her personal goals as an athlete. “I really wanted to work more on my left foot,” she reveals. “After I got injured, I couldn’t use my right foot. I tried to regain all of the muscles on my right foot [during physio]. And through the [physio] process, I was able to work more on my left foot as well.” Jinnie strived to preserve her athletic identity, a key objective in the steps to healing.

As cliche as it sounds, perseverance is what makes an athlete, regardless of whether it’s on or off the field, court, or pool. There are countless numbers of injury stories, each unique to a distinct athlete. For Colin, it was a learning experience: “most people don’t play in college. Cherishing the time I’m playing football on a team like mine is so valuable to me. I just had to have a lot of patience and know that when I’m back, I’ll just have to work harder.” For others, such as Jinnie, it was an opportunity to mature as an individual: “when you’re playing sports, it’s hard [not to get injured]. When your emotions are getting ahead of you, you want to play your best and risk your health. But, it’s really important that you play safely.”

With truth and rationale, these two student-athletes demonstrated how a successful recovery is dependent on attitude and commitment, despite the severity of the injury. And while you don’t always have the power to prevent injury, you do always have the power to control how to deal with it.
* Editor's note: Anterior Cruciate Ligament, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anterior_cruciate_ligament

Rachel Kahng
Grade 9
Seoul Foreign School

Rachel Kahng  student_reporter@dherald.com

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