If You Downplay Injuries, It Could Be Last Time You Play


Photo by Mr. Blair

Here I am playing defense on the home court in my last regular season game.

My sport is basketball. When people think of me, they think basketball. I have a big stature, and me being so big helps the team in crucial ways. The Wakefield Basketball team is among the elite; that being said, I had very big expectations on me to play well, so for me I felt like getting hurt was not an option.

I am down in the paint a lot, and i’m the one getting banged up the most on the court. Since I love to play, I never complain about getting hurt. In one of Wakefield’s last games I jammed my finger really badly catching a pass. I didn’t bring it up to my coach, because I knew if I did, he would take me out of the game. I couldn’t stand the thought of not helping my team, so I kept playing. That decision has hurt me; I permanently damaged my finger. It has messed with my daily life. I can’t write as well asI used to. I feel pain sometimes, too. If I had not hidden my injury, I wouldn’t have this permanent damage. It is just to my index finger on my right hand, so I am lucky. If it had been worse, I could have really damaged my life in a serious way. 

I can still play. Some players who hide their injuries aren’t so lucky. One study from New Zealand last year said that 80% of kids downplay their injuries so they can stay on the court. Knowing me and my friends, that number seems right to me. I know as athletes, we need to sacrifice, but sometimes it is too great a cost.

Every athlete handles anxiety about injuries differently. Now, I am going to try to report my injuries and look at the time off court differently. I am going to use time off to reflect and try to better prepare for coming back. I am going to try to strengthen other areas of my game and body by doing recovery activities. Good recovery time from injuries will determine my success or failure. I listen to my body, now and talk to my coaches.