No Sports Totally Safe for Student Athletes


Cassie Herberger, Sophomore Staff Writer

         All high-schoolers admire their peer athletes, regardless of the sport.  They recognize these students for their drive and athletic accomplishments.  What most non-athletic high-schoolers don’t realize, however, is how often athletes must deal with injuries, sometimes debilitating ones. This is a risk that every student athlete understands and accepts.    

This reporter conducted a survey involving 10 Hubbard High School Students. These students were asked to state which high school sport they believed to be the most dangerous. The survey results stated as follows: six students claimed football,  two stated baseball/softball, one named basketball, and the other cited soccer. It seems that football won this poll, and most studies seem to agree with this consensus; however, the statistics on other sports injuries are pretty surprising.

According to the website  “Coach & A.D.,” athletes who play football, basketball, soccer and baseball/softball are at the greatest risk of injury. Furthermore this website stated that between the years of 2002-2014, they noted “an average of 27,208 baseball injuries, 45,475 soccer injuries, 118,886 football injuries, and 119,589 basketball injuries.” Surprisingly, this website did not remark on high school hockey injuries, but perhaps the schools surveyed had no teams.

Although football players are protected by the pads and helmets that they wear, does this equipment truly ensure the safety of all players? Studies shows that hits and tackles can lead to the “deadly brain disease of chronic traumatic encephalopathy which is also known as CTE. Symptoms of CTE including memory loss, confusion, impaired judgment, impulse control problems, aggression, depression, suicidality, parkinsonism, and eventually progressive dementia.”  These are pretty serious sounding symptoms for someone young to experience at that moment, and possible for the rest of his/her life. Senior soccer player Zach Resatar stated, “I feel it is best to take necessary precautions that protects the next generation of children from head injuries over a pastime.” So possibly the present protective sports equipment just isn’t enough.

Baseball/ softball may seem like safe sports, but in reality, players knees twist, bones break and arms and shoulders blow out. Players come into contact with the ball, bat and other players. The pitcher, for example, has very few seconds to react to a hit ball toward the head. This time does not allow the pitcher to recover from their follow through. Baseball player senior Tim Herberger remarked, “I have witnessed many minor injuries on several baseball teams. The one game our pitcher took a ball off the chin but was able to remain in the game”.

Basketball has the highest number of dental injuries, according to sources. Players often wear mouthguards to protect their teeth. However, these mouthguards do not protect them from collisions with other  players or the ball. Sophomore basketball player Jackie Adler commented, “Collisions in basketball are dangerous. Whether you’re hitting the floor or another player on the court, injuries are usually a result.”

In the game of soccer, players are running nonstop for 90 minutes, but have a 10 minute break in between. Soccer player sophomore Kyleigh Johnson stated,  “This past year my team was very limited in numbers, and I kept twisting my ankle in almost every game; I played with this injury throughout the season. But I couldn’t tell my coach I needed out because we didn’t have enough subs and I didn’t want to let my team down”.  So an injury can become sustained if a player is needed, or afraid of being cut. Injuries in the game of soccer can be caused by coming in contact with another player, slipping, ankle rolling, slide-tackling, and heading the ball. According to an online source, Michael Lipton, a professor of radiology and psychiatry/behavioral sciences said that “some players who have headed the ball over 1,000 times a year were found to have tiny structural changes in their brains”.  Brain changes should certainly sound threatening to most.

So although admiration for student athletes will continue, it’s best for both the players and their high school fans, as well as parents, to recognize that while athletes play sports for exercise and fun, there is always the danger of injury.