Mental health in sports can come into play when getting injured and having your season taken away from you. After working so hard to become better, one wrong move or play can cause an injury that leaves you on the bench.
A couple of athletes here at LSW were injured before their season had even started for the school. Injuries and mental health go hand in hand when being taken away from something that could possibly be your escape.
Senior Brad Sonnichsen, a goalie for the varsity boys soccer team, was injured over the summer before starting the high school season. Sonnichsen broke his right scaphoid by taking a ball straight to the hand. Sonnichsen said, “Outside soccer life can be draining and now I don’t have that release from reality.” The scaphoid is located on the thumb, near the wrist. For six weeks, Sonnichsen did not know about his injury and felt no pain, but it caused the injury to increase in severity. Sonnichsen will be back to playing soccer in mid-October.
Football athlete junior AJ Sims tore his ACL and meniscus, as well as dislocated the top of his tibia. Sims tore his ACL by catching a pass but his knee unfortunately folded under him. Not being on the field playing with his teammates has been hard for Sims. He said, “Seeing all the other guys out there playing, while I know I can’t come back this season, has been the hardest struggle.” Sims will be out for 6-7 months after surgery possibly causing him to not play lacrosse this season as well.
Junior Isaiah Waldo tore his rotator cuff over the summer during a preseason football practice. This biggest struggle for Waldo has been not being on the field for games, he said, “I moved to West for football, and not being able to play has been difficult.” He is struggling with not being able to play with his closest friends. Moving to a new school for a sport then injuring yourself and not being able to play has been hard for him, Waldo said. Waldo will be back to playing football next season for his senior year, hoping to play college football after graduating.
As all of these athletes have not been able to play, their mentalities of being behind once coming back have been increasing. Sims said, “This time off is making me realize how much I’m missing out.” Waldo agreed with Sims, saying “I feel like I am going to be behind all of the other guys, strength-wise.”
Adding onto the mental aspect of playing a sport, Sims said, “It’s important to be mentally stable when playing your sport so you don’t forget the task at hand and what you have to complete.” Waldo said he tries to always keep a positive mindset even on bad plays, he said, “If you have a bad play and it stays in your head, it can mess up how you play for the rest of the game.” Waldo, Sims, and Sonnichsen believe mental health is the first step to becoming successful in your sport.
Nothing is guaranteed. Whether it be high school, club sports, or other activities; anything can change at any moment to push you into a different path. Sims said, “ It made me realize don’t take for granted what you have while you have it and have fun while you’re doing it.”