Injuries Plague Pirate Athletics

By Ty Bunnell & Lisa Donato | Collaborative Reporters
Less than a month into the school year, nine Pirate athletes were helped off the field and into a doctor’s office. They returned with appointments for surgery, casts, crutches, on observance for concussions, and for some, a sentence to the sidelines for the remainder of the season.

Although injuries are common in high school sports, the recent abundance of them has aroused concern toward techniques used during practices and games. Doug Miles, father of injured eighth grade quarterback Jake Miles and coach of fifth and sixth grade football, was speculative of how his son’s broken arm occurred when he was first notified of the incident.

“How does the quarterback get hurt in practice? It bugged me a little bit, but as a coach, I could see myself letting it happen,” Doug Miles said.

Jake and those who witnessed his injury were able to piece together what had happened and have come to the conclusion that it was unavoidable. The way he had the ball tucked under his arm when he was tackled caused the bone to break around it when he hit the ground.

“I just landed on it wrong,” Jake said.

His dad agreed.

“It was a freak accident,” Doug Miles said. “I don’t think there’s anything he could have done differently.”

Junior Tyler Johnson, a defensive end and full back, broke both the bones in his lower arm after a hard tackle during the varsity football Civil War game. Johnson, like Jake, believes his injury to have been a freak accident and is out for the rest of the season. Both the boys are unfazed by their broken arms and look forward to returning to the field next year.

Others, however, are not quite as optimistic. Senior captain Carlos Cervantes suffered a broken ankle at the varsity soccer Civil War game when a Bulldog went in for a tackle, stepped on his foot and threw Cervantes’ body weight onto his ankle. For the graduating athlete, this was his last year playing soccer with teammates who have been together for the past six years.

“It’s had a horrible impact on me,” Cervantes said.

Cervantes is not the only one who took the news hard. Senior and fellow captain Kelley Kennedy stated the team is more sad than Cervantes.

“Our team has been impacted greatly from his injury. He’s a great offensive and defensive player, and it’s hard to find a replacement,” Kennedy said.

Due to two Pirate athletes breaking bones during intense games against their rival team, North Bend, much controversy has arisen as to who is at fault. Although Cervantes and Kennedy do not think the Bulldog player intentionally meant to injure him, they believe it could have been avoided.

“I was right next to him when it happened. I don’t think the person meant to break it, but they were playing dirty,” Kennedy said.

Cervantes contended that fault may lie with the referees.

“If the refs had kept more control of the game it wouldn’t have happened,” Cervantes said.

Despite the claims, Athletic Director Bryan Trendell believes aggressiveness is not the ultimate cause behind the injuries.

“I don’t think there’s a trend of athletes being more aggressive,” Trendell said. “They just happened to pile up all at once.”

Although one occurring trend Trendell has noticed is the growing number of knee injuries among female athletes.

“Knee injuries for girls have been on the rise in the past ten years,” Trendell said. “Girl athletes are doing more physically demanding sports now than they have in the past.”

This rings true for Pirate volleyball players, senior Ashton Morgan and juniors Peyton Babb and Brea Mosieur. Due to a torn meniscus and anterior cruciate ligament, Morgan’s volleyball career came to an end at a pre season camp when she tore her lateral and medial meniscus, resulting in her third knee surgery. Babb also suffered from meniscus and ACL tears, but had a successful recovery; she is now filling in for Mosieur, a second year varsity starter and outside hitter who is out for two to six months with a torn lateral meniscus.

Head football coach Justin Ainsworth believes the lack of exercise during one’s elementary school years is a contributor to the increase in injuries in this day and age.

“I think it’s society,” Ainsworth said. “You don’t see kids out on their bikes or running around the neighborhood anymore. All that activity promotes flexibility in an athlete.”

His advice for athletes seeking to remain injury free is to “get off the couch, go to school, get enough rest and do things that promote a healthy lifestyle.”

“Nothing is going to guarantee you won’t get injured, but you can minimize injuries by having a healthy lifestyle,” Ainsworth said.

Doug Miles agreed.

“Things happen. You’re going to have injuries with sports,” Doug Miles said. “But I think the benefits of sports outweigh the risk of injuries.”