By Nathan Lynch
This happened to me
Tradition is a key part of the culture at Saint Mary’s High School, where I attended all
four years. Each fall, the varsity soccer head coach held a blue vs white scrimmage match. This
game was the first inter-squad scrimmage of the high school preseason. For all athletes,
participating in any competition brings a risk of injury to the back of their minds. The reward of
playing will negate the risks of injury. Each game as an individual is a chance to show your pride
and skill on the field, to represent the colors of your school with honor. Certain players take this
pride and run with it, while a percentage of others find small injuries, yet others pay the price
with their bodies for a lifetime.
I was lucky to experience an injury for only a small period of time. This is
common amongst many players. The problem is not the injury itself but how to prevent and
heal from it. In many competitive sports, injuries are part of the risk. You must grow up and
accept that, but the recovery process on the mind and body is the most important aspect. The
Vincera Foundation works day and night in the education of sports medicine. This will continue
to help athletes in the journey back from injury.
My story is unique to me yet very common to athletes around the globe. It was a chilly
and grey Saturday afternoon. The blue vs white inter-squad soccer match started at 4:30 pm
with dinner made by the parents after the game. This was an exciting day for both parents and athletes since we were excited to flaunt our new skills crafted over the sweaty summer.
Each team was a composite of both the junior varsity and varsity teams. I was on the starting team
for the blue side and this team had all the starting defenders for varsity and the backups for
junior varsity. The first half was going smooth. I had made two or three saves. This was nothing
out of the ordinary. There were five minutes left in the half, and the ball was being passed around
the defensive third. My center-back Jimmy Chinchilla under-hits the ball, and it becomes a
50/50 between the white team’s striker and me. I sprinted full speed. I must make a slide tackle
since the ball is out of the eighteen-yard box. I leave my feet, and the abrasive turf begins to rip my
legs. Then, my body takes a jerk back as I encounter the ball.
My left ankle begins to sting with immediate pain. I look down, but to the naked eye, I see nothing. The trainers rush over and tell me I sprained my ankle. After talking to the trainers, it turns out my leg got caught under my
body and the forward momentum twisted my ankle. This resulted in my ankle sprain. My ankle
sprain was only a grade two. I was very fortunate to have a capable team of trainers at my high
school that worked with me. They were all very educated, and this led to my recovery being faster. Normally, it takes three weeks to be back on the field, but I was back at practice in two weeks. My
mental health returned quickly, and my performance reflected the positive mindset I was in.
My story is not unique, here’s the problem
Ankle injuries are extremely common in soccer because of all of the sudden harsh turns on
the ball. Most injuries occur from a collision, and the most common ankle injuries experienced
by soccer athletes are ligament sprains (80%), (Shapcott, 2022). Ankle mobility is important for soccer players. Dribbling a soccer ball requires a full range of motion for making
cuts, turns, and step-overs at quick speeds. In my opinion, the problem is not preventing the injury. It is the recovery. Sports trainers can try to prevent ankle injuries by strengthening
athletes’ ligaments, but at the end of the day, people will still get hurt. We must focus on sports
medicine and the recovery process of individuals. This will provide a fast track to get back to
playing as well improving mental health. The strain of athletes being out of their sport is
comparable to being lost. You feel out of place, and in some rare conditions, you no longer matter.
Here is a non-profit working to solve the problem
There are various non-profits that work to help athletes, each with a slightly different
route of helping people. Some believe the best solution is to prevent injuries through strength
works or new rules that enforce a safer game. Then, there are non-profit organizations like the Vincera
Foundation that work to teach former athletes about sports medicine. They have a program called
Jocks2Docs which is a program that takes former athletes and educates them. The Vincera
foundation works to prevent injuries too by serving with the “Best-practice organizations” to
create stronger athletes. They offer medical fellowships, medical education programming,
and have community outreach for coaches, youth athletes, and parents in health. On their
website, they offer health tips, from doing yoga and stretching to mediation.
Injury prevention or helping an athletes’ recovery can come from anyone. All it takes is one step.
That first step can be many different things, from donating to Vincera Foundation, majoring in
sports medicine, or just offering guidance to athletes from your past. Education will be the
foremost frontrunner in prevention and recovery. Each person must help promote this.
Read the multiple articles online, and educate yourself on your own body’s health.This includes the mental aspects. One cannot heal without two things: the dedication of their mind and the
education of tested protocol of return.
Shapcott, E. (2022, September 7). Prevention of ankle injuries in soccer players: Sheddon
Oakville. Sheddon Physiotherapy & Sports Injury Clinic | Oakville & Mississuaga. Retrieved
September 30, 2022, from https://www.sheddonphysio.com/prevention-of-ankle-injuries-in-
Vincera Foundation. (n.d.). Retrieved September 30, 2022, from
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