Athletes Overcoming the Struggles of Suffering From Injuries


Hannah Zaritski

State College Area High School training room, taken on Oct. 22, 2021.

Hannah Zaritski, Staff Writer

It’s easy to take things for granted, especially the little things in life. So what happens when you realize that something that took a lot of time, effort, and dedication, suddenly is taken right out from under you? For most professional athletes, their careers start off in high school. But when high school athletes encounter an injury, it puts their lives on pause and leaves their future’s uncertain. 

State High Athletics Trainer Mackenzie Truitt interacts with injured high school athletes every day. In fact, on average, the number of injured athletes that come to see her ranges from around 10-12 students per day. 

“I try to be a support system to help players navigate the emotional toll that injuries take on the athlete’s everyday life,” Truitt said. 

With help from the athletic trainers, student-athletes work to overcome any injuries that come about. Ryan Schneider, senior defender for the State College Boys’ Soccer team, recently opened up about his injury from the summer. Schneider first injured himself during a preseason practice when mistakenly planting his foot and hyperextending his knee, resulting in the tearing of his lateral. Throughout Schneider’s recovery, one of the most important lessons that his injury has taught him is that patience is crucial when trying to recover. 

“I learned that patience is key because you won’t always see results right away, but if you keep at it you will be happy with your progress,” Schneider said. 

At the beginning of the injury, it wasn’t just the damage itself that was hard, but on top of that, he had to learn how to overcome jealousy, disappointment, and fear. 

“It’s something I have worked hard towards, I feared missing out, with it being my last soccer season,” Schneider said. 

Fortunately for Schneider, he has been able to still travel with the team, and although his position may be a little different now, he still gets to share the high school soccer experiences with his teammates. 

Junior Mia Reese, a midfielder for the State College Girls’ Soccer team, shared her journey after being diagnosed with a severe concussion just recently after one of her games.  

Reese blocked the incoming ball from a corner kick, and immediately went down to the ground. She got up and continued to play, but that only lasted four minutes, and shortly after was diagnosed with a severe concussion. 

“I knew the second I realized that I couldn’t see or comprehend what had happened, I needed to rest,” Reese said. 

After taking very cautious steps of recovery, Reese said that she did everything she could to prevent her head from worsening. 

“You have to learn to accept injuries. When you do have an injury as serious as a concussion, it’s not something you can brush off, you have to learn to take care of yourself,” Reese said. 

Reese found going from being a part of the starting lineup to being the team hype-man on the bench to be a challenge she struggled to overcome.

“It’s hard just sitting there, watching everyone play knowing that you could be out there,” Reese said. 

Reese is hoping to get back on the field to play in the remainder of games as soon as she gets cleared to play again. 

Senior tennis and softball player, Kylie Ehrensberger, suffers from muscle inclination and bicep tendinitis in her shoulder from using similar shoulder motions in both her sports. Since Ehrensberger trains for softball throughout the summer, there wasn’t time to give her muscles a break. Despite Ehrensberger knowing the importance of rest, time away from her favorite sports is still a challenge. 

“I love to compete and be involved,” Ehrensberger said. 

When learning to overcome the struggle of an injury, it’s important to know what your body needs, even though it is hard to accept. 

“Although I am tempted to play, it is crucial I give my body time to heal before it is time to get back on the field for softball,” Ehrensberger said. 

Ehrensberger, after giving her body much needed time for rest, said she is going to be set for her last year playing softball for State High as a senior. Although she missed out on her last year playing tennis, Ehrensberger is preparing for a great season in the spring. 

With help from teammates, trainers, and peers, these student athletes can overcome any challenges that come their way.  Although it is never easy coming across something as serious as an injury, it helps athletes practice patience, and teaches them to listen to their bodies to prevent injuries from worsening.