How Liberty students cope with long-term injuries

Karinn Sytsma, Staff Writer

Of all the dreaded things that an athlete can imagine, an injury is certainly one of the worst. But while getting hurt for the short term may be terrible, nothing affects an athlete like a long term injury.
Senior Kendall Aramaki is experienced in being injured. Aramaki has torn her ACL three times since freshman year and is currently in recovery from her most recent surgery at the beginning of this school year. But the hardest part, she said, wasn’t the pain of being injured.
“It was hard learning how to live without soccer because it was such a huge part of my life,” Aramaki said. “It was how I figured stuff out and calmed down. Learning how to live without that as an outlet and making my better friends at school instead of on my soccer team was just a weird transition.”
For many athletes who deal with long term injuries, the separation from their sport not only disrupts a huge focus in their emotional life, but also their free time. Sophomore Brielle Ament had hip surgery a year ago, and is still working through her recovery, especially as her lifestyle has been altered.
“I had to balance out the different parts of my life that were so dedicated to soccer. I had way more free time, but I was getting bored because I didn’t have anything set per week to do other than school,” Ament said.
Many students, like Ament, Aramaki, and sophomore Arne Grette, who injured his foot and ankle during cross country training, fill this free time with more focus on school and new activities.
“I spent a lot of time doing my physical therapy and tried to pick up new hobbies and spend time on school. I came to track practices and pretended I could run,” Grette said.
But everyone recovers from injuries and disappointments differently. For Aramaki, her focus was a change in mentality and focus.
“To cope, I picked things that I could control and devoted myself to them because I didn’t feel like I controlled anything in my body, even. My knee wasn’t working! It’s like, it’s supposed to be a knee and it’s not doing its job!” Aramaki said. “So I made a list of things in my life that I had power over, just to feel like I was in control, and I focused on those things instead of worrying over things I couldn’t control. I also surrounded myself with a support group of people I love. I don’t think I could’ve gotten through without them. They were amazing.”
But despite differences in coping mechanisms, all of the athletes agreed on one thing: listen to your doctor.
“The most important thing is just to listen to your doctor. If you sprain your ankle and your doctor says to take a week off, take a week off and rest and ice it. Listen to your doctor; they know what they’re talking about more than you do,” Ament said.