Injured Athletes Back on the Bench


Prior to her injury, Ava Williams, junior, balled it up on the court.

Madeline Whitney, Reporter

Junior Atiana Dawson goes up for a hit during her volleyball match. Upon her return to the floor, she immediately feels her knee buckle, and just like that she is out of the sport she loves for thirteen months.

This is an all-too-common fate for many Presentation athletes with the increased intensity and pressure their respective sports put on them.

More than a full year later Dawson has recovered and returned to volleyball, and she is an expert on her injury. She talked about her recovery time as an difficult obstacle, but not one that she was unable to conquer.

“I can’t imagine not playing volleyball,” she said. “I worked so hard to regain my knee strength back, and if I didn’t play another sport, even if it wasn’t volleyball, it would be all for nothing.”

Junior Ava Williams, who was diagnosed with a concussion halfway through her sophomore basketball season, also spoke about the need to play  as the reason she did not just give up on it once she was injured.

“Just playing a sport helps me like relieve stress from school,” said Williams. “I just wanted to be out there so bad, and it made me a little emotional.”

Williams’ road to recovery was not quick and easy, as she worked hand in hand with head athletic trainer, Heather Terbeek, to get back on the court.

Terbeek said that she likes to see injured athletes once a day until they are back to full strength, and “to give tools like handouts or at least do one on one sessions so they understand how to do things correctly.”

Dawson and Williams are some of the lucky few who have been able to return to their beloved sport during their time at Presentation.

Others, such as senior Caitrin Olivieri, find themselves in the worst possible situation; missing out on their final season as an athlete at Presentation.

Over the summer, Olivieri sprained both her acromioclavicular and sternoclavicular joints in her shoulder during a swim practice, causing her to miss both her golf and swim seasons this upcoming year.

Through this hard time, Olivieri has looked on the bright side by becoming team manager for the golf team and keeping a positive outlook on her physical therapy.

Keeping positive is one the largest challenges that these athletes have to face, but Terbeek recommends staying involved in their program as much as possible.

“Anything they can do to stay included is helpful in keeping their [morale] up,” said Terbeek.

Dawson, Williams, and Olivieri all viewed their team involvements as being a way for them to motivate their teammates, almost ignoring the positive effects that their participation had on their own mental health.

Olivieri said, “It allows me to boost the spirit of the other girls, and I can still cheer them on even if I’m not playing.”

But cheering on the sidelines wasn’t always easy.  “It was really difficult for me to be happy being there for them,” Dawson said. “But I did it and I praise myself for doing it.”

Sports easily becomes a huge part of athletes’ lives and having them taken away can be devastating. However as the above athletes found out, with enough will, hard work, and positivity they do not have to let their injuries define them.