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Triage in the Trainers’ Room
Sophia Hamlen '22 Senior Staff Writer
November 18, 2021

As passerby students may have noticed recently, student-athletes fill the benches on sidelines at games as well as the trainers’ room, a higher volume of injured athletes than ever before.

Emma Kahle ’22, a member of the Girls’ Varsity Soccer team, broke her foot in early October, leaving her on the bench for the rest of the season. Despite being sidelined, Kahle found ways to make the most of her season. She said, “I’ve been able to spend a lot of time with the other injured players, like Kiki Brainard ’22, Fife McCargo ’23, and Jackson Kinsler ’22, adding, “We’ve done themes for sidelined players during home games. It’s been a great way to keep our spirits up and make the most of the unfortunate circumstances.”

Kahle’s teammate, Kinsler, has also suffered serious injury. Kinsler, with five sprains on a single ankle from the second day of tryouts, said, “It’s not easy to sit on the bench wishing for only one more minute to play again.” 

Like Kahle, Kinsler has made the most of her time on the sidelines. She said, “Every practice we show up and play hype music to get the team fired up… shoutout [to the] Injured Squad [Emma, Fife, Kiki; we] could not do it without you all!”

On the Boys’ Varsity Football team, you also will find a number of star athletes benched due to injuries. Notably, wide receiver Elic Ayomanor ’22 has been out for the season due to a knee tear he suffered while playing against Williston. Ayomanor’s teammate and close friend Geoffrey Jamiel ’22 has also recently undergone several injuries during games but, fortunately, his injury hasn’t left him bench-bound. 

“During the Suffield game, I sprained my ankle and hyperextended my knee, causing me to miss an entire week of practice,” Jamiel said. “Football is different from other sports because we only have games once a week, so you have some time to recover physically during the week.” 

From the sideline, Jamiel has had the opportunity to watch practice from a different perspective. He shared, “Watching practice from the outside adds a different layer. You can see the whole field and understand different things conceptually, that you wouldn’t necessarily realize or see as a player.”

The trainer’s room can certainly attest to the high volume of injuries this term. Most days, it is filled with injured athletes seeking physical therapy or simply grabbing a pack of ice. Head Athletic Trainer Robert Graves said, “In speaking with colleagues from other schools, it seems that many of us are experiencing a significant increase in the volume of students that we are seeing on a day-to-day basis for injury evaluation and treatments.” He added, “While it is difficult to say for sure why this influx has occurred, one can conjecture that it may be the result of a return to competition after a year plus off due to the COVID pandemic.”

During the nearly year-long hiatus from interscholastic games, many Big Green athletes have had a break from competitive games. Most teams participated in Green and White tournaments, but the magnitude of interscholastic competition was not commensurate with the high-stakes competitive environment of interscholastic games. 

Mr. Graves said, “Rusty body mechanics, proprioception, and deconditioning could all possibly explain why it seems that more athletes are experiencing injuries this year more than in the past. It is important to note that this is not supported by any scientific data but just one athletic trainers’ perspective.”

To the senior athletes who miss out on their final season, Mr. Graves said, “Use this experience as a building block.  Work hard to get better, be resilient, and continue to support your teammates. You are not defined by what you do on the field. You are defined by who you are as an individual.”