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Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

College injuries lead to lifelong problems

Dylan Wakefield takes it easy at practice and ices his shoulder while giving his teammates pointers as they prepare for crucial games this weekend. Photo credit: Makayla Hopkins

It’s not uncommon for college athletes to get injured during games and even practices. Athletes might feel that they’re letting down their coach or team and face internal pressures of having a speedy recovery to get back out on the field.

Leaving the team behind to tend to their own wounds is the most difficult decision an athlete might make during their college career. Not only do they have a limited time left to try to pad their stats, and make it to the professional leagues; they also have a school depending on their performance.

Junior forward for the Chico State men’s soccer team Dylan Wakefield blew out his AC joint and tore all three ligaments in his shoulder in a pre-season NCAA match against Cal Baptist earlier this season. Senior forward Rajaee DeLane said that he felt the loss of Wakefield injured the team’s morale.

“Dylan’s absence because of his injury has had a big impact on our team,” DeLane said, “He’s a teammate who brings energy and positivity to the team on and off the field.”

College athletes are exposed to not only multiple injuries but there are several factors that limit recovery time and that athletes face when trying to perform and excel, according to the American Journal of Sports Medicine.

“Our coach doesn’t put pressure on us,” Wakefield said. “But as athletes, we put pressure on ourselves.”

After sitting out for three weeks, Wakefield and his teammates were eager for his return to the field against Cal State San Bernardino. Wakefield did not play during the game despite the ‘Cats 2-0 victory.

“Having some tough early games of conference play, we could have used his energy and positive spirit on the field,” DeLane said. “I know Dylan is manually tough and will come back strong in the upcoming games.”

Wakefield also noted how critical it is to take the time to allow the body to heal to prevent more injuries and allow effectiveness in future games.

The Chico State volleyball team will be one player down, with junior opposite Natalie Nordahl suffering an ACL injury.

Nordahl is battling her second ACL injury from landing wrong during just the second practice of the year and is currently out for the rest of the season. First-year middle hitter Kim Wright said she felt the loss of Nordahl was difficult for the team.

Nordahl said her injuries keep her motivated to work even harder to get back on the court. With the support of her teammates and hours in physical therapy, she hopes to be healthy by next season.

Wright is also battling a torn meniscus injury that happened last year during a preseason tournament but plans to join the team later in the season.

“Once I got the surgery, the trainers and my teammates were always there for me to support in rehab and a fast recovery,” Wright said.

While athletes battle time to get on the field after sustaining their injuries, having them healthy and able to continue playing effectively remains more important than their missing contributions to the team.

Makayla Hopkins can be reached at [email protected] or @_makaylahopkins on Twitter.

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