The Red and Black Editorial: Are sports worth the risk?

Photo by: Ainsley Grey

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As fall sports wrap up and winter sports begin, the halls of Jefferson City High School become filled with students on crutches, in casts or otherwise injured. It’s a harrowing reminder that while the games and activities we participate in are fun, they are also far from safe.

Every single time an athlete steps onto the field, court, or mat they are aware of the risks. The most common sport injuries are sprains, pulling a muscle or tendon and fractures. However, are these injuries worth it? Obviously there are going to be two distinctly different perspectives/opinions when this question is asked. Die-hard athletes and those who don’t participate in sports have very different opinions on the matter.

From an athlete’s perspective, they go into a sport (hopefully) well aware of all the injuries that can occur. The question is whether or not a person should participate in something knowing that there is a chance of injury. Let’s forget about high school sports and think of just about any life example that can put someone at a risk: getting in a car, walking across a street, using a hair straightener, using a knife when cooking, holding the phone above your face when laying down, and dancing in the shower all bring danger. When thinking of any of these daily life occurrences, almost everyone has done more than two of these things. They may not always think about the risks involved with these things, but they all have their own unique kind of danger. So what is the difference between participating in these daily things and a high school sport?

When a person chooses to do something they expect the consequences, and when something just happens to a person it comes as a surprise. Athletes know that while playing sports there’s a good chance they’ll be injured, so why play them? This is a frequently asked question from just about everyone, that happens to have no true answer. I am not entirely sure what all goes through a wrestler, or even a football player’s head, but I do know they think sports are worth the risk of injury.

From the outside of the athletic department looking in, it is still unclear why people choose to put themselves at risk on purpose. There is always that possibility that a tackle on the football field, a softball hitting someone, or a fall on the basketball court can result in something much more serious than a sprained ankle. Stress fractures and torn ACL’s – both debilitating for athletes – have been suffered by JCHS athletes. A lot of the times athletes tend to brush off the aches and pains or even a concussion. Concussions seem to be a very common injury that happens to be described as “it’s not that serious” when in reality it is. Even minor concussions can change the way one’s brain functions. But coaches and trainers are better than ever at not only treating these injuries, but preventing them from happening in the first place.

At the end of the day, it’s hard to convice those on either side of the debate that the other is right. Like most things in life, there probably isn’t a yes or no answer to this question. While playing sports is a risk, so is taking a shower, going to school or sleeping on your back. Yes, sports are increasing the risk of injury, but walking onto the court, field or mat is a decision every coach and athlete makes under the awareness of all the risks.