Athletes and their courageous recoveries from injuries

What would you risk to do something you love? Our Trojan athletes risk broken bones, sprained ankles, and torn muscles for the satisfying outcome that results from perseverance and teamwork. They strive for greatness, but with every victory comes a possible cost. Most athletes experience at least one minor injury while playing a school sport, and in some cases, those injuries keep them far from the field for months on end.

Junior Aaron Milosevic has played on the Trojans’ varsity and junior varsity boys soccer teams since freshman year. Milosevic is a very experienced player, and has been participating in the sport since the age of four. This year was his first season on the varsity team, but unfortunately he suffered a very serious injury during a practice that benched him for the rest of the season.

“We were doing a drill and I was going after the ball and the next thing I knew I was on the ground,” he recalled.

Milosevic broke his tibia, fibula, and growth plate. This left the soccer player out of service for six to nine months.

Milosevic was not only unable to participate in the soccer season, but also had to forfeit other activities, like “driving, a lot of hanging out with friends, and walking. I couldn’t go out and do anything.”

When asked about how common it was for athletes to get injuries during the season, Milosevic replied, “Quite often.” The most common injuries involve “not really breaking legs, but sprained legs and pulled muscles,” he said.

However, regardless of the risks that come with playing a school sport, Milosevic does not regret a single thing. He plans on trying out for the team again next year, and when asked about his struggle to recover, he replied, “I think it’s worth it if it’s something you like to do.”

Junior Thomas Faustka has also experienced the dangerous side of school sports. The basketball and volleyball player suffered a serious back injury that made him stop participating in sports activities and even stop attending school.  Faustka has had to finish his junior year of high school online, as he goes to physical therapy and heals.

Faustka has played basketball for around nine years, and has spent one year on the CVHS junior varisty boys basketball team and two on varsity during his high school career. Although Faustka plans on playing basketball well into his college career, a long-lasting injury built up after three years, putting a small hurdle in his most recent basketball season.

“It started off freshman year during the summer. I was in a basketball tournament in Oregon when I started feeling the pain. It went away, but this summer I felt the pain again and it just got worse and worse.”

Faustka knew he needed to see a doctor when the pain became overwhelming. “I woke up one morning and the pain was the worst it’s ever been,” he said. “ I went to school, called my mom and went to the doctors right after school, and got a CT scan.”

After visiting the doctor, Faustka could recall the incident of the injury. He landed after a jump and felt a sudden sharp pain, “I didn’t know what it was.”

Because of the reoccurring injury, Faustka needed to consult his doctor multiple times. “The first time I was diagnosed with a stress fracture. I was out two to three weeks,” he said.  With a closer examination and help from the CT scan, Faustka was later diagnosed with a complete fracture on one of the pars on his vertebrae.

Finally, after knowing what was wrong, Faustka was on the long road to recovery. Due to his injuries, it was hard for him to function, “In the beginning it was hard to get up, and I couldn’t wear anything on my back. I can’t jump or run.”

Fauska now goes to physical therapy twice a week and goes to the gym every day to work on conditioning and core strength in order to recover as soon as possible. According to Faustka, he should be “about 100 percent in probably a little less than a month and a half.” Hopefully, this injury has no permanent damage.

Even though Faustka has suffered immense pain from the sport, he is determined to get back out onto the court. “This has motivated me more, and taught me to never give up even though anything can happen,” he said.  

This leads us to ask, how safe are school sports? New CVHS sports trainer Brent Hatakeyama believes that injuries are common, but usually not serious. Hatakeyama used to work at Los Altos High School, but because of a recent move he decided to apply for the open position at CVHS. Hatakeyama has been a trainer since 2012, and describes his job’s responsibilities as “taking care of all sports related injuries and illnesses and giving emergency care.”

Hatakeyama works with many CVHS athletes, and assists them in taking care of their injuries, both major and minor. He reports 1,800 recorded visits to the training room this year, not counting the student athletes who don’t sign in.

Thomas Fautska stretching before practice
Thomas Fautska stretching before practice

The most common are sprained ankles and shin-splints.

Are all these injuries normal for a high school? Hatakeyama says yes.  “Injuries will happen no matter what. This high school has an average amount of injuries.” Hatakeyama also commented that CVHS has a “good concussion prevention plan.”

What sports are the most injury prone? From Hatakeyama’s experience it’s “between football, cross-country, and track.”

Injuries are definitely common when it comes to sports, but CVHS has trainers dedicated to helping each injured individual as much as possible. Hatakeyama says that one of the most enjoyable parts of his job is “getting to see kids go from zero participation to 100 percent and playing at a competitive level.”

CVHS has a talented variety of students athletes, and with the help of their trainers and coaches, they are devoted to playing their sports, risks and all.

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