By Madeline Cade, Contributing Writer
While McKendree University has many great academic programs, we are mostly well-known for our participation in NCAA Division II athletics. Between the 33 teams on campus we hold many GLVC Conference titles and a few National Championships. These trophies do come at a slight cost: the physical and mental well-being of the athletes. Mental wellness aside, athletes are injured a lot of the time. Professor Gabriel Shapiro says, “It sometimes looks like Vietnam around here.” You take one look out at campus and you will see walking boots, casts and slings scattered around. It is interesting to do research and find the most common injuries among different sports teams at McKendree.
I look at my track and field teammates and see injuries all the time. Since being hurt and out for four months, I wanted to know what the most common injuries were for sports on campus. After talking to Maggie Vihovde, the trainer for the track and lacrosse teams, I discovered that the injuries seen most for track and field are simply due to overworking, overuse and running excessively. These include hamstring and calf straining, plantar fasciitis, stress fractures and shin splints – the latter being what she deemed the most prevalent. “You guys are basically just shutting your bodies down” she said, seeing as how the team is always injured.
Another team she works very closely with is lacrosse. Lacrosse injuries mostly come from contact or fast-changing direction. In that case, they get a lot of ACL and meniscus tears, rolled ankles and pulled quads. “Lower body is more common for them because of their movement on the field,” Maggie had to say. This comes as no surprise due to their constant pivoting motion and sometimes on uneven ground.
For the incoming class of 2023, McKendree football signed 49 players just on one signing day. Football is taken very seriously here. Games are one of the few places where you see at least someone from every team, every background and every walk of life coming together to cheer on the Bearcats. It’s easy to say they have one of the biggest fan bases on campus. However, they also have one of the longest injury lists. Leading the pack are ACL tears. I asked multiple football players what they thought was the injury that occured the most on the team. All of them said that, despite what television and movies say, concussions are not what happens the most. They do occur every once in a while, but they are not as frequent as what some of us may think. ACL tears are common when dealing with a sudden, twisting or pivoting motion, which this team does a lot of.
The back-to-back GLVC Champions, the men’s wrestling team, is always in the training center putting in work. According to Chris Gillissie, a student here, knee injuries and sprains occurred the most on the team. He says that it happens so frequently because of their constant movement and getting caught. In a more serious sense, ACL and MCL tears can result from the fast switch in maneuvering around their opponent.
From bowling to bass fishing, baseball to basketball, McKendree has such a wide variety of sports on campus with a large majority of the student population also doubling as athletes. Many of us have multiple practices a day with a lifting session squeezed in. This can be very taxing on the body. Every athlete I spoke to has had at least one injury during their college career, whether they are a first-year or a senior. However, we all get up in the morning with the purpose to be the best athlete for our team. We get up and do it for the love of the game.
Three boots and foot injury: Madeline Cade
Wrestling picture: https://glvcsports.com/index.aspx?path=wrestling&