With any worthwhile endeavor in life comes an obstacle that needs to be overcome. Examples of such obstacles are prevalent in our lives here at Deerfield. Whether one is doing poorly academically, struggling on social terms, or finds themselves at an unfortunate situation of events, it is fair to say hardship comes on a familiar basis for the members of the Academy. For athletes, nothing can be more grueling and devastating than to be sidelined with an injury.
The word “injury” itself causes some to cringe, and brings pain in the eyes of an athlete. Not only does injury challenge a person’s physical endurance and strength, but their mental toughness as well.
Depicting the life of hard knocks are two of Deerfield’s most exemplary athletes to date: Boys Varsity Soccer athlete Austin Philie ’19 and Football player Alex Judelson ’22.
Type of Injury:
Philie tore his ACL and partially tore his Medial Meniscus while participating at a lacrosse tournament this summer. Austin, playing for the Deerfield soccer team, recalled the event precisely. “I went to plant my foot and it never planted” says Philie; “… my knee gave in underneath me.” Philie contains video evidence of the event taken by a parent of a teammate (Ned Lynch ’19), and shares a common opinion – as one does when looking at an ACL tear live – “[It was] pretty gross.”
Judelson experienced a strained groin during the course of football season.
Though not a torn ACL, Judelson properly acknowledges the severity of his injury – “It’s one of those injuries that’s not the worst, but it’s pretty painful and it lingers [on] for a while.”
Judelson attributes his injury to the sudden shift from summer to football preseason; sprinting everyday took a toll on his unprepared body.
Recovery Routine and Trainer’s Room:
Both athletes experienced a progressive path of recovery. Philie visits the trainer’s room everyday after classes, and says his routine, “changes all the time.” As of now, Philie is focusing on bringing his leg back to its original form with the help of the trainers. “It makes it all the better that our trainers here at DA are super nice and so easy to talk to,” says Philie, “As much as I wish I was back out on the soccer field I don’t hate being in [there].” He finds his progress rewarding, from strolling around with crutches to now being able to walk up stairs, he is more than satisfied with his results. He ends his day with icing and cordial conversation among fellow injured peers, as there’s, “always a smile and laugh to be shared in the trainer’s room.”
Judelson, experiencing excruciating pain from a strained groin, first began by icing the area. He then proceeded to biking exercises, and intense leg lifts. After gaining a little confidence back and getting cleared to play again, Judelson had the urge to put on his skates to play hockey. It did not go as he expected. “It was my first time skating in about a month,” says Judelson, ”and I re-injured my groin so [that] stunk.”
Judelson began the same process as before, having to go through the same treatment all over again
But the trainers find a way to keep morale high. As he recalls one Friday, one of the trainers, Gabi, played the song “Friday” by Rebecca Black on repeat. Judelson had his own thoughts of the song choice, but stated, “It brought a positive energy to a room full of injured kids.”
Feeling Left Out:
Philie has had a mixed experienced in terms of feeling left out. The varsity soccer team still includes him in the team, allowing him to attend both home and away games. Unable to attend practices, Philie has a special love for matches. Discussing his love for soccer games, he shared, “I love watching the guys compete out there, and it makes it a lot easier knowing that my peers are out there playing hard for the Academy.” Cheering, however, is not enough for Philie’s competitive spirit.
Wishing to be out on the field playing, he said, “I am very passionate about athletics at Deerfield. I feel as though we all have a very special privilege to be able to fight for the green and white on the beautiful campus we have.” A model of competitiveness and of school spirit, we should all aspire to have the same Deerfield principles exercised by Philie.
Judelson feels excluded at times from the world of athletics at Deerfield. “The hardest part about being injured is just watching people doing something that you love to do but you can’t.”
Looking from afar, away from the action, can take a toll on some athletes. Judelson recalls specifically when the new Athletic Center was inaugurated.
With it being the opening of the new ice rink, he said, “I really wanted to be on the ice the first day it was open, but I knew I couldn’t and that was just as painful as my injury itself.” Judelson clearly depicts the day-to-day mental struggles of injured athletes with this example.
As a good teammate, he attends practices and games to support his peers.
Public Service Announcement:
As injured athletes comprise only a small minority of Deerfield students, it is vital that members of the community hear out what they have to say. Often their lives are unique, making it hard for others to connect with them. Philie and Judelson would appreciate for the community to know the following:
Philie said, “I’m not a manager, I think that’s one thing I want people to remember, because if I was healthy I’d be out there giving it everything I had and playing the game I love … Just because I got injured before the season doesn’t mean I’m not part of the team. The soccer guys accept me as part of the team but I was a bit disappointed to see ‘manager’ next to my name on the roster, and no jersey number either.”
Judelson said, “One thing I’d like people to know is that our injuries are completely legitimate. Just because we don’t have a cast or aren’t on crutches doesn’t mean we’re fine.
Walking around hurts for me but it’s one of the ways I’m re-strengthening my groin so I just push through it.”
We wish Austin and Alex speedy recoveries, and can’t wait to see them back on the field wearing the Green and White!!!