By Grace Stewart
Beaufort Academy athletics boasts many star players including all-state swimmers, football players, all-region basketball players and state placing cheerleaders. However, many sports are being stripped of their prized players due to injuries that consume the entirety of the athlete’s season.
Two seniors at Beaufort Academy were taken out of two different sports this year (so far), Megan Debardelaben (varsity girls basketball) and Charlie Humphries (varsity football). I spoke with Megan about the situation she is in and how life changed after she found out that she tore her ACL (knee ligament). After coming to the realization that she would be out for the season, Megan was shocked and nearly cried. After all, she has been playing basketball for five years. She knew that having an injury in your senior year of high school definitely affects the chances of playing a certain sport in college.
Not only does that injury have a negative effect on future college years, but it is also very costly. Results show that 13% of female basketball players will tear their ACL and 70% of those athletes will require surgery to repair that torn ligament. The average cost of surgery for an ACL is $2,400; add that to the emotional cost of loss of school days, sitting on the sideline, and not being able to participate in sports for about six months; it can feel very disappointing.
Charlie Humphries was also taken out of the football season by a shattered collar bone that required surgery to insert metal plates. Not only was he robbed from his favorite sport that he had been playing for his entire high school career, but the cost of recovery surgery is much more than that of a torn ACL. Both Charlie and Megan continued and will continue supporting their team with attendance at practices as well as games, showing true athletic devotion. Now I pose the question, should the school limit the sports offered due to costly injuries?
Many students today rely heavily on their athletic abilities rather than their academic successes to help them get into college. If they are deprived of sport’s participation then they are left with nothing if academics are average. These circumstances have led me to dive deeper into the school’s responsibility to its athletes. If schools were to look further into the incidences of particular sports injuries, then better insurance can be offered too help offset expense should the player be injured during participation. Injury prevention guidelines and better equipment are constantly being updated to help prevent season-ending injuries. The trauma suffered by high school competitors could be reduced by a requirement of certain updated padding, clothing, or even supportive braces. Better conditioning and education of athletes can also help reduce injuries.
It is not my position to limit high school athletics because of injuries, however I do believe that the responsibility lies with the athlete as well as the school to avoid injuries by better education, adequate training and innovations in protective equipment. For now, the game must go on; good luck to all athletes in Beaufort, and remember to be safe, because this article could potentially pertain to you.
By Grace Stewart