Negative Impacts of Sports Injuries on Student-Athletes

Sports injuries among student-athletes aren’t just physical setbacks; they have significant negative impacts on mental health, academic performance, and social well-being. This highlights the need for preventive measures and strong support systems for injured student-athletes.

Caption: Edison girls soccer team playing their home game against Martin Van Buren
Photo Credit: Jayden Richardson

Varsity soccer player Natasha Carvajal faced a significant setback when she tore her ACL and meniscus playing soccer for Edison in 2021.

“I was a sophomore, and it was one of our last games to determine the division championship. We were winning 2-0 and they kicked me behind my right knee. It tore my ACL and meniscus. My injury took me into a dark place. I didn’t have confidence anymore. I believed that the only thing I had was soccer and it all just vanished,” Carvajal said. “My grades went low. I started with perfect attendance, doing everything on time, and after the injury, I would start to get to school late because I had to come on crutches. I went to physical therapy for 3 months, twice a week. My therapist would tell me that everything’s gonna be okay, and I would get my strength and confidence back. Coach checked in weekly, and asked if I was okay. Guidance and the principal also would check up on me. Every teacher was understanding and lenient about grades and lateness.”

Carvajal’s experience underscores the detrimental effects of sports injuries on student-athletes and the critical importance of providing support. Meanwhile, Bitoshoke Chakma, another varsity soccer player, offers his perspective on sports injury.

“My knee developed loose cartilage, leading to more injuries like hamstring issues. It made running difficult. I was upset that I couldn’t play for half of my season due to this. I usually get sprains that heal in three weeks, but this injury is still influencing me, and it’s been four months. Doctors told me I might need surgery, which means I might not be able to play for a long time,” Chakma said. “I’ve stopped playing for my club to prevent worsening the injury. I had to go to therapy 2-3 times a week, which messed up my schedule as I had to go very far. But it helped me to understand my body more and learn how to prevent future injuries. Though it got me a little depressed watching my friends and competitors progress and go forward, I learned to think positively.”

Chakma’s story reveals the toll his injury has taken, disrupting his progress in his sport and resulting in physical challenges. In contrast, Alessandra Ojeda, a member of the Edison Girls Soccer team, shares the story of overcoming her injury.

“My injury happened during my high school game against The Scholar Academy when one of the players from the opposing team directly hit my right leg. My injury was a calf contusion which lasted a little over a month. I had to adapt to using crutches. My injury prevented me from playing soccer which is my passion, this led to me having more stress as I had to stand on the sidelines and watch my teammates play without me. I mostly missed my entire high school season and could not increase my game statistics like Goals Scored or Assists Made. In school, I had to leave class early to be able to get to my next class on time. I could not go to certain places because of my crutches. For example, I had to be transported in a wheelchair during a NYCFC soccer game because it was hard to pass people with my crutches. I felt unhappy remaining at home as my teammates practiced and were able to play the sport that I loved,” Ojeda said. “The support of others meant a tremendous amount to me as their support allowed me to improve my injury much quicker. My family helped me go to my appointments and continue my exercises at home. My friends were always willing to help me carry my backpack or anything that I needed. My teammates were excited to see me on the field supporting them for every game. They were the first to run to me on the field to make sure I was okay which comforted me.”

“You should always play your best and to your fullest anytime you are on the field as injuries can come at unexpected times and are mostly inevitable to prevent,” Ojeda said. This shows that sports injuries impact student-athletes physically, mentally, and emotionally, shattering confidence and hindering long-term goals. On top of that, academic pressure adds more stress. It’s crucial for their support network: family, friends, therapists, and school staff to be there for them during times of injury.

Amena Akter

Hi there! I am Amena Akter. I was born and raised in Bangladesh where I discovered my passion for Bengali literature through literary icons such as Humayun Ahmed and Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay. My writing journey began in the US, where I embraced creative writing and journalism in high school. Beyond my literary pursuits, I find joy in soccer, watercolor painting, gardening, and cooking. I am very interested in medicine and aspire to become a physician-scientist in Oncology. I have a deep-seated desire to make a positive impact on both the world of literature and the field of medicine.