How to Fight an Athletic Injury

Being injured as an athlete is the most frustrating thing. No one wants to watch their teammates practice and play knowing that they physically can’t do it. Once you’re injured it’s hard to know your boundaries and what your body can and can’t handle. Depending on the injury, your trainer will usually have some sort of rehab for you to help recover. There are a few things you can do on your own.

The first thing you can and the key to healing any injury is rest. Although you might feel tougher fighting through it, rest sometimes solves everything. Your body will somewhat recover naturally if you don’t push it too hard too soon. When I was a freshman in high school I got shin splints. I didn’t want to stop running so I fought through it eventually turning it into a stress fracture. The stress fracture had me out for three months. If I would have rested when I got shin splints I could have saved myself those three months with a stress fracture.

The next key of advice I have is to ICE, Ice often and stretch often. Recovery is just as important as a workout. Especially if you are already injured, Icing can really help you heal. It’s as simple as putting a band aid on a cut, you just ice where it hurts to heal and ice where it doesn’t to prevent. Stretching is another important part of healing. Keeping your muscles loose helps you from getting tight and allows you to heal faster.

The last part that you can do on your own is mental. It’s important as an athlete that you stay in the game mentally even if you can’t physically be a part of it.  Remember what motions feel like and what you do to get going before a game. Continue to cheer on your teammates as if you were about to step onto the field and do your part. Anything you can do to remain all there mentally will help you. Never take yourself out of the game because of an injury and mentally separate yourself from the game or your teammates.

I know how hard an injury can be. Keep up with what your doctors and trainers give you but also do what you can do on your own. Stay positive, hydrated, and mentally focused. You’ll be better in no time!

Being an Athlete and Having a Social Life: The Balancing Act

College is a place for a clean start. A new beginning unlike any other as you are meeting new people, stepping out of your comfort zone, and…being an athlete? Many of your high school teammates have retired from their sport and are off to a new world of carefree parties, sleeping in on weekends, and having an overwhelming amount of free time. I run cross country and track for my university and I know firsthand how keeping up with an active social life can clash with athletics. Being that I run cross country in the fall, indoor track in the winter, and outdoor track in the spring, I don’t get a break. I simply have learned to balance.

Let’s start with the new world of carefree parties. There is nothing carefree about attending a party when getting caught could risk your scholarship or even your eligibility. Parties are a part of the college life that everyone should experience; athletes just need to be extra responsible. When you’re not away at a meet or a game you should take advantage of those off weekends! Go out with your teammates, they are in the same situation as you are and as teammates you will look out for each other. Act responsibly on these “off” weekends and remember as an athlete, you’re automatically in the spot light.

Sleeping in on weekends doesn’t happen that often for athletes. This can greatly affect your social life.  Who wants to stay out late on Friday night when they have 6:30am practice on Saturday morning? You must make friends with your teammates! Your teammates are the only people in the exact same situation as you. They’ll understand if Friday night turns into an early movie night instead of a party. Your teammates will spend hours a week with you in and out of practice, they’ll have your back, and they’ll understand your life style.

Athlete’s schedules can get crazy. Your friends might go to a few classes a day, relax at the mall, or go out for lunch. As an athlete you are expected to not only go to a few classes a day but to schedule them all around your 2-3 hour practice. Although free time is limited, it’s easier to work out a schedule than it looks. Based on your season, take the credits you can handle, go to practice, and be sure to get those required study hall hours your coach requires. I have managed to take 15 credit hours, attend track practice, do my homework, hold a steady job, do an internship, and spend time with my friends at the same time. It can be done. Be sure to write out a to-do list daily in order to keep all your responsibilities balanced.

It’s not easy to be a student athlete but it wasn’t easy to get there either. As an athlete you know all about setting goals and working extremely hard to achieve them. Balancing your social life and your hectic schedule is just like your sport, it just takes determination and a lot practice.

-Speedy G.

I’m reading Human Resources Management


Expectations of Student Athletes

As a college athlete, you’re automatically someone that people notice. Whether you’re walking around campus in your team apparel or published in the sports section of the school paper, you’re immediately a role model. As a role model, there are many unsaid expectations. I run cross country and track for my university so I have personal experience in this area.

Expectation number one, you must do well in school. Without the grades, coach can’t play you even if he/she wants to. You must attend classes and stay awake. Also, most schools require their athletes to achieve a certain number of study hall hours per week. These numbers must be met no questions asked. Some schools set their athletes up with tutors they are required to meet with once a week. You must attend these meetings. Bottom line, athletic programs will set high academic goals for their athletes, and athletes are expected to meet them. What’s the reward? You’re eligibility.

Expectation number two, you must be involved. When you’re not spending hours at practice or in study hall, you must be active. Our school’s term for this is, “life skills points.” We are required to have so many of these points by the end of the year. Points can be achieved by attending another sports game, volunteering in the community, or attending athletic meetings. Schools that don’t have an actual point system still have the same expectations. Coaches will often set up volunteer opportunities that athletes are “recommended” to attend.

Expectation number three, you must be responsible. Whether you’re of age or not, you cannot drink during season, period. If you are at a party, you must be smart. If a classmate gets busted for being a minor in possession of alcohol, it can go by quietly. If an athlete is busted for being a minor in possession of alcohol, they can say hello to the local news/newspaper. It might read something like this, “OKLAHOMA FOOTBALL STAR BUSTED WITH MIP, ON SUSPENTION FROM TEAM.” –For example. Athletes must be good to their bodies, and to their reputation. You are a role model.

Doing well in school, being involved, and responsible might be a general goal for many college students. But, for athletes, it’s an expectation.

-Speedy G.

I’m reading The Prose Reader: Essays for Thinking, Reading, and Writing