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From setback to comeback

Approaching the next school day as the year draws to a conclusion gets progressively more difficult. Waking up is harder, getting ready takes longer and school seems to lag. As a student-athlete, having a sport after a grueling day of school can be a way to escape some of the stressors in your life. Unfortunately, sports-related injuries are very common, and in order for athletes to return to the sport they love, recovery must be taken seriously.

Savannah Spangler sprinting to pass the baton to her teammate. (Staff stockpile)

Cross country runner, track star and future Marian University soccer player Savannah Spangler ’25 has felt the heartbreak of injury-related absences from a sport. She has what is called “runners knee,” which occurs when there is overuse of the knee. In the fall, her injury got worse as she ran for South’s Girls Cross Country team. However, she pushed through the pain in hopes of making it to regionals by the end of the season.

“It was just hurting so bad. So after that, my coach sat me down and was like, ‘Hey, you got to rest’ and I was pretty annoyed,” Spangler said. “I was frustrated because this season I wanted to do a lot more.”

Now that she has had time away from her sport to recover, Spangler said that she has learned to listen to her body a lot more. She now prioritizes warming up and cooling down and can recognize the difference between “good” pain and “bad” pain,

“I always roll my legs out before and after practice. I always stretch before and after,” Spangler said. “And it’s funny, because one of the freshmen on the soccer team was like, ‘you take this really seriously.’ I was like, ‘I just don’t want to get hurt.’”

Physical therapist Susan Linder stressed that returning to competition too early and not permitting full recovery can slow down the process. She agrees that stretching and strengthening the muscles that support our joints are necessary for a speedy recovery. Linder also stated that mental recovery is crucial.

“Traditionally, we have only really considered recovery of the physical body, but mental recovery is just as important,” Linder said. “Finding a balance that allows the body and mind to recover is critical.”

To motivate her commitment to recovery, Spangler said that her teammates were very supportive while she was cheering them on from the sidelines.

“Whenever I cheered them on, they’d come up to me and ask how I’m feeling and how the leg is, which honestly meant a lot,” Spangler said.

Varsity softball captain Avery Harris ’24 has had her fair share of injuries, which she said is common when you play the sport she does. With softball workouts starting in November, she said that training in the offseason is important to limit the injuries, but that it does not prevent them.

Avery Harris ready for heat in the corner. (Staff stockpile)

“It makes me upset, because during the offseason we are always working and when we get to the season and I get injured, it feels like I put in all that work for nothing,” Harris said.

When she has to miss a game because of her injury, she still cheers on her teammates to contribute to their success.

“It’s not a me sport, it’s a team sport,” Harris said. “Being there and supporting the team is like I’m still in it.”

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About the Contributor
Lucy Gabel '25
Lucy Gabel '25, Copy Editor
As an adventurous second-year staffer, Lucy Gabel ’25 will be taking on the role of a copy editor in addition to her extracurriculars and life outside of school. A ten-year softball player, Gabel is an avid lover of exercise and working out. This year will be her third season playing for South’s Varsity Softball Team, and she’s looking forward to returning to the field. In addition to her many school activities, Gabel is always trying to find balance through hanging out with friends and relaxing while watching “Gilmore Girls.” “When I’m not doing school, or hanging out with friends,” Gabel said. “I try my best to prioritize time by myself.” What she’s most excited about, though, is another year on Tower building her journalism skills and writing stories. “I like learning new things about people and shining a light on their stories.”

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