High School Sports: Worth the Risk?

Why do student athletes continue to play, despite such a high risk of injury?


Olivia Priefert

Ali Gansemer sets up to pitch for the Cass County Wildcats against Auburn.

Murray, Neb.–Junior Matilyn Steckler has been playing softball her entire sports career. The sport is a huge part of her life, and has been a dependable constant every fall. She looks forward to the start of school, and the kick off of softball that comes with it. However, this year turned out different than anyone would have hoped.

Steckler played in a total of five games before her entire season changed. The infielder was backpedaling to catch a fly ball when she tripped and fell backwards. She fell hard, landing on her right wrist-her throwing arm. She ended up breaking multiple bones in her wrist and needing surgery. Doctors estimate that Steckler’s recovery time could be upwards of six months. Thanks to a simple accident, her junior year softball season ended before it really even began.

Like Mati, athletes across the nation put themselves and their bodies at risk every day to do something they love. With all sports comes some risk of injury. Concussions and head injuries can be prevalent in contact sports like football and wrestling. Basketball and soccer players run the risk of sustaining knee or ankle injuries. In almost any sport, athletes are taking risks with their bodies. Injuries unfortunately can, and sometimes do linger on for the rest of the athlete’s life.

So why do we play? Why do young students take these chances?

The answer lies in the fact that high school sports are more important to athletes than many may think. Even if a student does not plan to keep playing their sport after high school, the sports that have been a huge part of their lives for so long can in many ways define that person. Sports teach valuable lessons, including teamwork and perseverance.

Many athletes at Conestoga become very attached to their sport, as the small school environment keeps them with the same group of people and coaches throughout their whole career. Facing ups and downs with the same team for many years creates a bond like no other.

This is why high school athletes take such pride and place such high value in their sports. This is why it is so important to students across the nation to play these sports, even if they are putting themselves at such a high risk.

Athletes like Mati work hard all season to keep playing the sports they love. Although with these sports comes the high risk of injury, they still continue to play. Student athletes are so focused on their sport and team, that they will risk almost anything to keep playing, and to keep the lessons and camaraderie they build with their team along the way.