Injuries prompt stricter safety standards in athletics


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Approximately 2 million injuries annually come from high school sports.

Allie Beekman

One year ago, after breaking her ankle in two places during a softball game, senior Marisa Harczuk of Tinton Falls had just been cleared to start playing field hockey after three months without physical activity. From early May to early August, Harczuk underwent surgery and physical therapy to get back on her feet.

“I was stealing home and the catcher sat on my leg to prevent me from reaching the plate,” Harczuk said. “Technically she didn’t do anything wrong because she had the ball in her possession, but this kind of play has been a big problem recently because of the impact that is caused when people collide at that speed.”

According to the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine, approximately 2 million injuries, 500,000 doctor’s visits and 30,000 hospitalizations come from high school athletes annually.

In recent years, sports of all levels have emphasized safety, requiring more protective gear to prevent injuries.

Hockey particularly has added a lot of safety equipment over time, especially when it comes to goalies. Senior Michael Ottone of Freehold said that as a goalie, he wears much more equipment than other players.

“Goalies wear a chest protector, leg pads, skates, knee pads, a cup, a neck guard, a helmet, a glove and blocker. Adding any more equipment would hamper movement,” Ottone said.
Professional sports leagues make the safety of their players a priority. Despite their efforts, injuries remain common.

Harczuk said that research is the best way to solve this issue and others involving sports safety.

“More research needs to be done into the impacts of injuries on your body so that the equipment that we use can be more effective,” Harczuk said.

Until then, it’s up to the players themselves to be conscious about their own safety and protection.