Taking one for the team

Jacqueline Henderson, AP Lit Set 6

When an Academy athlete enters her sporting arena, she might exit with an injury. This fact is an unavoidable consequence of a student-athlete’s life, but few have discussed the reasons for athletic injures among Academy students.

Perhaps the pressure of Academy’s academic rigor is disrupting their focus, or maybe there is there some other force at play. To better understand why the population of injured girls is threatening to match those uninjured, I spoke with two senior athletes, Meaghan Wehle and Brynn Wiley. Both ladies took time out of their busy schedules to talk with me about theirinjuries and how it has affected their performances.

Meaghan Wehle, captain of the dance team, has been injured “a couple times” in the past. As a competitive dancer, she has suffered from injuries mainly on the lower half of her body. These injuries are not merely an inconvenience. Every fracture, splint, or tear jeopardizes her dancing career. Even though competing is a risk, Wehle dances as passionately as ever. When asked about the cause of her injuries, she attributes both unavoidable and avoidable causes: “I think it would have to be genetics. My
parents both have weak ankles, so it is probably from that…and possibly not warming up properly.” Wehle admitted that she has concerns about injuring her ankle whenever she performs. “You are always going to worry, when you start to do what
injured you the last time. You have to be careful and focus.”

Fellow senior Bynn Wiley, responded in much the same manner. “I think it’s genetics. My dad is accident prone.” Wiley too is not a novice when it comes to dealing with injuries. She has experienced everything from breaking all ten fingers to ripping a number of tendons. Nevertheless, she maintains an optimistic perspective: “I think of my injuries in a positive way. I just can’t
make the same mistake twice.” Her advice to other athletes has a similarly upbeat tone-“Don’t let the injuries get you down. You are going to want to get right back into it, but you have to heal. You gotta wait. If you are hurt, don’t ignore it. Get medical attention immediately.”

Wehle’s own advice strikes the same note: “You love the sport, and you don’t want to stop, but you have to. It’s better to take some time off than injuring something permanently and never being able to do it again. No matter how frustrating, you have to listen to the doc.”

Both girls have chalked their injuries up to genetics, but neither of them have let that bring them down. The moral of the story seems to be to warm up properly, consult your coach when injured, and see a doctor when you pain persists. Of course, the dedicated athlete will head right back to her sport in no time.