Injuries last beyond season

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Injuries last beyond season

by Eva Hoffman

by Eva Hoffman

by Eva Hoffman

Keller Stephens, staff reporter

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Becky Volkert, 12, and Dante Patnode, 12, are two of the many Mounds View athletes who have sustained life-changing injuries from playing sports. While the severity of their injuries don’t exactly line up, all put a strain on daily life.

Volkert, for example, has been a three-sport athlete for most of her high school career. After suffering from a herniated disc that caused nerve impingement, excessive pressure on the nerves in her upper back and neck, her life forever changed.

“At the Hill Murray tournament during last year’s basketball season, I was playing help side defense, and all of the sudden I couldn’t move my neck and back,” she said. “At that moment I was really scared because it felt like my neck was paralyzed.”

Since then, Volkert has continued playing sports, but she has endured pain and side effects from the herniated disk. “Every day I have to do stretches to relieve the tension in my upper back,” she said. “I also have specific lifts to do that isolate the muscles in my neck and back.”

With 34 sports teams, Mounds View has a large student body of athletes, some who train practically year-round.

Since injuries occur frequently among athletes, it is easy to forget how serious they can be. Patnode has suffered numerous concussions from playing football and lacrosse.

“I have had five concussions — four major, one minor,” he said. Patnode cannot play contact sports anymore because if he gets hit, even just the slightest bit, he risks severely damaging his brain. “My short term memory has been affected a bit, I zone out a lot, and I get a lot of headaches out of nowhere,” he added.

Students who have already graduated see the long term effects of their sports more clearly. Richard Carlson, a 2012 graduate and a wrestler at U.W. La Crosse suffered multiple injuries in both high school and college. “He has had two torn meniscus,” said his mother, Mary Carlson, paraprofessional at Mounds View. “He currently has a torn ACL which he is going to have surgery for. The two meniscus tears, he’s had two [knee] surgeries.”

“He’ll probably have early onset arthritis, osteoarthritis in his knees,” she added.

WIth injuries being impossible to predict, athletes must ask themselves if the risk is worth the reward.

“My injury really stresses how important it is to take care of your body and muscles,” said Volkert. “It’s hard because not many people my age have this injury, and it’s made my body feel like it is aging faster than it should by being so sore when I am young.”

Carlson, on the other hand, has a different view. “I think it was worth it for him,” she said. “You have to take precautions, but you have to do what you love.”

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